Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Panaji, Dec 7: A couple of days after SC East Bengal suffered their third consecutive defeat in their maiden Hero Indian Super League campaign, with a 0-2 result against NorthEast United FC at Tilak Maidan, attacking midfielder Jacques Maghoma spoke to the club’s official website about the ‘apparent’ penalties that were not given in that game, how the team is dealing with this tough situation psychologically and their preparations ahead of their next fixture against Jamshedpur FC, slated to be played at Tilak Maidan on December 10.
Q: We’ve played three games so far and are still looking for our first win. We all know what happened in the previous game against NEUFC. How did you deal with a situation where a penalty that looked obvious was turned down?
That’s a tough one because I think everyone, not just people at the stadium but viewers watching the game on TV, could clearly see that it was a penalty and if given, it could’ve changed the course of the game. We started so well, dominated possession, but couldn’t capitalize on the chances. A penalty at that stage would’ve been massive for us. You can give the referee the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they made a mistake, but hopefully they will correct it before the next game.
Q: How do you deal with such a defeat mentally when you know that the team lost despite dominating the game?
I just feel that you need to focus on the next game and see where and how you can improve. As a senior player, I have to figure out in what better way I can contribute to the team. Of course, it’s also important to keep the spirits in the camp high. No one wants to be on the losing side. We need to change the atmosphere not only for us but for the fans as well. We need to stop thinking about the past results. The next game is going to be massively important for us and we’ll have to avoid making errors both defensively and offensively.
Q: What do you tell the players after such a string of results?
We need to believe that what we are doing is right. We need to keep improving and it will happen as we play more games. It has not been easy because we started our pre-season training at a time when that of most other teams was already underway. We knew that we had a lot of catching up to do. At the same time, it’s imperative that we keep believing in ourselves and I’ll say to the fans that you keep supporting us. I’m hopeful that the results will change and we’ll start winning games.
Q: We play Jamsedpur FC next on Thursday. How are we building up for that contest?
It’s not going to be an easy game as no game in this tournament is supposed to be easy. Look, we have a lot of quality in the side; we just need to take our chances. We need to convert chances and defend well. I think that if we rectify a few errors here and there we’ll be fine and start winning those points. As I said, we don’t want to reflect on the previous result but penalties can be crucial in tight games. They defended really well and we’ve to give them credit for that. We’re on the right track. We just need to bag some positive results.
Q: The final question. What has been your opinion about the quality of the Hero Indian Super League?
The tournament is into its seventh season if I’m correct, and I think it has the potential to unearth a lot of new talent and attract many more players from abroad. It will encourage a lot of young Indian players playing in the Hero I-League to enhance their game. The tournament has already received a lot of attention worldwide and football in India is massive. It’s only going to get better.