Interview with Michael Chopra

Michael Chopra Interview ABCDFootball
An Exclusive Interview with
Michael Chopra
ABCDFootball caught up with one of the top marquee players of the Indian Super League(ISL). We are talking about the man who made the headlines prior to the AFC Asia Cup 2011, with speculations that he might don the Indian jersey and become the first PIO(Player of Indian Origin) to represent Indian National football team but things never materialized. We are talking about former Newcastle United, Cardiff City, Sunderland, Blackpool FC striker - Michael Chopra, who will now don the jersey of Sachin Tendulkar's Kerala Blasters. Here is how our discussion went capturing various topics ranging from Indian Super League to his chances of representing Indian National Team and a probable move to the i-League.

ABCDFootball - How does it feel to be associated with Indian Football after such a long wait?

Michael Chopra: It’s great to be playing football on home soil.  I am having a great time in India so far; everyone has been so warm and welcoming.  Most importantly I am thoroughly enjoying playing for my team, the Kerala Blasters, and I cannot wait to get the season started! 

ABCDFootball - Despite being linked with the Indian National Team, most recently being the AFC Asian Cup 2011, the move never materialized because of the "Dual-Citizenship" condition. Will it change this time around?

Michael Chopra: I believe it will change this time round I'm at the right stage of my career to give up my British citizenship and I want to help India at international level 

ABCDFootball - What is your expectations from the Indian players who will play alongside and against you, and how do you intend to set an example for them on and off the field?

Michael Chopra: I am expecting a great season of football. The Hero Indian Super League(ISL) has attracted some huge names all of which will have added value to their individual teams. I have spoken publicly about setting up football academies for Indian youths so that players like myself can pass our talent and experience down to a new generation of footballers.  I hope that by investing in Indian football now I can inspire a generation of new sports men and women and leave behind a legacy that will last a lifetime.

Is Michael Chopra ready
to play in i-League?
ABCDFootball - Do you consider a professional move to India on a permanent basis? If yes, how much of an idea you have on Indian football and the i-League?

Michael Chopra: Of course I’d love make my move to India more permanent, I would feel honored to play in the i-League and again I intend to leave a long standing legacy in my ancestral home.

ABCDFootball - What challenges are you expecting when you turn up to play in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) and how do you expect to overcome them?

Michael Chopra: I prefer to think positively about playing for Kerala Blasters opposed to considering the challenges I may or may not face. I have a great team and am looking forward to kicking off the season.

How beneficial will ISL be for
Indian Football?
ABCDFootball - How beneficial do you think Hero Indian Super League(ISL) could be for Indian Football considering its short tenure compared to the national football league - "i-League"?

Michael Chopra: I think the quality of talent that the ISL has attracted is fantastic and regardless of the length of the season, the players alone have created lots of international media coverage, which is inevitably a good thing for Indian football in general.

ABCDFootball - Its no secret that English Football is not generating enough English talents for the National Team as one expects from one of the top leagues of World Football. With the ISL featuring more foreigners than Indians in the starting XI, are we going to witness a similar trend?

Michael Chopra: No I don't think that's the case I believe it will improve the sport in India and I have already seen the improvement in the Indian players in my team as the standard of players they are playing with have passed on their experience. 

ABCDFootball - What is Michael Chopra's message to Indian Football enthusiasts?

Micael Chopra: Thank you for your support leading up to the kick of off the first ever ISL season and for making me feel so welcome in my ancestral home.

The interview was taken by Debraj Banerjee of ABCDFootball. We would like to thank Michael for giving his valuable time for the interview. Also, our special thanks to Baljit Rihal, Rebecca Cowie and Matt Flint for making the interview a possibility. The interview would not have been possible without these people. ABCDFootball would also like to wish Michael the best of times ahead in the Hero Indian Super League(ISL) with Kerala Blasters. Hope you all enjoyed the conversation and hope that you keep following Indian football through the eyes of ABCDFootball.
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About Debraj Banerjee

Hi, I am Debraj Banerjee from Adra, West Bengal. A keen follower of Indian football and always an optimist that the game will get the recognition it truely deserves. What we ask from you is your support and one day the dream might turn true. Fingers crossed for Indian football. Cheers!

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