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A Glimpse into Life at NorthEast United FC: An Insightful Conversation with Asheer Akhtar

28 Thursday 2024 | NEUFC
In the heart of the NorthEast United’s defense, Asheer Akhtar has seamlessly settled in after his switch from the I-League to the Indian Super League (ISL). With 17 appearances and over 1400 minutes played this season, Asheer has become an integral part of the Highlanders' squad. Asheer's journey to NorthEast United FC has been paved with experiences from some of the most prominent clubs in Indian football. Having played for the likes of Bengaluru FC, East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting Club, and Sreenidi Deccan FC, he brings a wealth of expertise to the team. Recently, we had sat down with Asheer to explore his journey and experiences at the club. Reflecting on his move from the I-League to the ISL: Adapting to a new club and coach is no easy feat, but Asheer approaches it with a positive outlook. "Every time a player joins a new club working under a new coach, we must adapt to the style of the coach," Asheer remarked. His transition from the I-League to the ISL was a long-standing goal, "Coming from I-League to the ISL, was one of my aims. I was trying hard to get into the league for the past 2-3 years. It feels like this is right time for me to get into the ISL and the experience I gained at I-League is really helping me a lot. Playing in the ISL is quite different from the I-League. The competitiveness is higher in the ISL, the opponents are better, good quality foreign players. In ISL you cannot afford to make a mistake, else you are punished." NorthEast United FC Experience: Asheer's adjustment to life at NorthEast United FC has been smooth, thanks to the staff and players, "At NorthEast United FC it’s been easy for me to adjust, because the staff has been very helpful and every player has been very welcoming. It has been a pleasure for me to be part of the starting XI almost every game. I am happy here, the fans here are amazing. So far, it has been good, but we can still improve. We are on the right path." Working with Juan Pedro Benali: Under the guidance of Head Coach Juan Pedro Benali, Asheer has flourished on the field. Benali's experience and strong mentality have left a lasting impression on Asheer, who admires the coach's commitment to player development and growth. "He is a very experienced coach; he demands a lot from the players and we are all happy to fight and play for him. He is very strong mentally; it does not matter whom we are playing against. He helps us grow every single day." Dressing room atmosphere: The camaraderie within the dressing room is palpable, with a blend of seasoned veterans and young talents creating a lively environment. "We have a nice bunch of people in our dressing room. It is something which every player would want to be part of. The dressing room atmosphere matters a lot. Most of the guys are young lads, but players such as Mirshad, Redeem, Bora (Gaurav) have been part of the ISL for quite some time now. They have the quality to take players along with them and experienced foreign players such as Zabaco, Romain make it quite a good mix." Club Support and Facilities: Behind the scenes, NorthEast United FC is dedicated to providing top-notch facilities and support for its players. Asheer applauds the club's efforts in enhancing player welfare, from training facilities to youth development programs, and foresees a bright future for the club. "The club is doing really well behind the scenes, providing facilities to the players, food, travelling, training pitch. From what I have heard from the players who have been here in the last season, the situation now is much better. When all these things are sorted, you only have to worry about the game and nothing else. Also, the youth development and the reserve team have very good players and the future looks very bright for the club. Many youth players will be making their way to the senior team soon." Future Aspirations: Looking ahead, Asheer is determined to help NorthEast United FC achieve its goals, "Right now, for us it is about trying to finish in the top 6. We want to achieve something which this club has been lacking for the past few years and we hope we can do it for the club and make the supporters proud."
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