Updated: Jan 21
Panaji, Jan 7: Fans call him 'Save-jit', and justifiably so.
SC East Bengal goalkeeper Debjit Majumder has made 28 saves in nine games – the highest so far in the current edition of the Hero Indian Super League. Of these, he made eight saves alone at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Wednesday night, which helped his side restrict a rampaging FC Goa to a 1-1 draw and extend their unbeaten run to four matches.
The 32-year old has a good deal of experience under his belt, having won a Hero ISL, a Hero Federation Cup and two Hero I-League titles in the past. He was also the recipient of the Best Goalkeeper award in the 2016-17 Hero I-League.
Majumder signed up for the red-and-gold brigade in 2020 and is currently featuring in SCEB's maiden Hero ISL campaign. Right from the start of the season, his impeccable form between the sticks has been one of SCEB's positives, making him a reliable name for fans and the team management alike.
In this freewheeling chat with the club's official website, Majumder speaks about the FC Goa game, his stellar form this season, Goalkeeping Coach Bobby Mimms' contribution to his success, his bonding with his teammates, and why our fans are our biggest asset.
Q: You made 8 saves in our last match against FC Goa. Your 28 saves so far have been the most by any shot-stopper this season. How does it feel?
I know this is my job. I try to deliver my 200% effort in every game and help my team get positive results. I did the same thing against FC Goa as well. Eventually, it wasn't the result we wanted because we were in search for all three points. Obviously a draw wasn't a bad result, but we would have been happier had we won the match. Anyway, what's gone is gone. Now we are focusing on our next match against Bengaluru FC.
Q: When the ongoing edition of the Hero ISL started, did you think that you would be topping the statistics pertaining to total saves midway through the season?
I don't think about statistics when I play. My aim has always been to help my team win matches. I go into every match with this mindset – to give something back to the team.
Q: How much have you been benefiting from your training sessions with us, under the supervision of our Goalkeeping Coach Bobby Mimms?
He (Bobby Mimms) is a great person! I have worked with him before, so I know what exactly he wants from me. I try to train with the same intensity that I exhibit in matches. There is not much of a difference in my approaches towards training and matches. Our Goalkeeping Coach keeps offering me technical advice as to the areas where I can improve. I get to learn a lot from him in every training session because he himself played at such a high level.
Q: We have been playing really well over the past few weeks, even though we have won only one match so far and some results haven't gone in our favour. How do you mentally prepare yourself for such situations?
Results are always important. Having said that, this is a new team which is gradually coming together. We are getting more organised with each passing day, which was not the case at the start of the season. Our first three matches didn't go too well for us, but we have recovered and lost only one of our last six fixtures. It takes time for any team combination to develop. All of us are working hard to get the right results.
This is a long tournament; we still have eleven matches left. If we manage to win two consecutive matches, we can make a great turnaround. If you look at the league table, you'll see that every team is in contention for playoff spots.
Q: We are currently staying in a bio-bubble. Could you talk us through the team environment?
Initially, the two-week mandatory quarantine period was very tough. After coming out of quarantine, I started enjoying the company of my teammates and our support staff. Rafique is my room partner. He is very talkative and keeps chatting with me throughout the day. I share a great bonding with every team member. Even the foreign players here are very affable. It never seemed as if I hadn't played with them before. Bright (Enobakhare) joined us only a few days back, but we already share a great friendship. It feels as if I have known him for the past two to three years. All of us stick together like a family. We know that anything is possible in football, so we are hopeful of a turnaround soon.
Q: Speaking of Bright, you have been on the Indian football circuit for a long time now. Do you remember seeing any goal of that class in the recent past?
Well, Indian football has been graced by some great foreigners in the past. But, to be honest, I can't remember when was the last time I saw someone score such a solo goal when his team was down to ten men. When we saw Bright for the first time in training, we understood that he is a special player. He is proving everyday that he is different from everyone else. His goal against FC Goa is the best I have seen so far!
Q: Fans love you. Would you like to tell them something?
We miss all of you. The pandemic has forced us to play behind closed doors. I can tell you something. If we were playing in front of a packed crowd in Kolkata, we would have won the last match. Fans' presence makes a world of difference; it motivates you more than anything else.
I would tell our fans just one thing – keep backing us. If you show faith in us, it sends out a lot of positive energy. You are our biggest asset. The club is where it is today because you have supported us selflessly over the years. We are all in this together. Joy East Bengal!