‘I am looking to learn from Sunil Chhetri’: Jobby Justin on joining Indian football team camp

The year 2018 was certainly a special one for Jobby Justin. The Trivandrum-born striker had a brilliant season with East Bengal as he was involved in 12 goals (including four assists), which accounted for more than half of East Bengal’s total goals (23) scored in the season.

Although he impressed experts and fans alike with his goal scoring prowess, former India coach Stephen Constantine never included him the national team. However, that changed with the appointment of Igor Stimac after Constantine’s departure and Jobby was one of the new faces included in the 37-member squad named by the new coach of the national camp.

It was a dream come true for the young striker and when asked about the opportunity, he wasted no time in answering that his ultimate aim is to wear the national jersey.

“Personally, it was a dream of mine to play for the national team and I have been given an opportunity with this camp. So, I will do my level best and my ultimate aim is to wear that blue jersey,” Justin told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview.

When it comes to the second striker position, Jobby’s competition will be mainly with the likes of Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh, Sumeet Passi, and Farukh Choudhary. But, he is more focused on learning the art of professionalism from skipper Sunil Chhetri at the camp.

“In the camp, I want to learn from Sunil Chhetri about how to be more professional and how to improve my game. He is well known for his professionalism and I think I have a lot to learn from him. I am really looking forward to the experience,” the 25-year-old said.

This will be the first national camp for coach Stimac and thanks to his impressive list of accolades, a lot of players are looking to forward to learning from him. Jobby is no exception in that department and he sounded quite excited when asked about the new India coach.

“I am really excited to work with the new coach and considering his experience of working with players like (Ivan) Rakitic and (Luka) Modric, we will have a lot to learn from him. For Indian football, it will be a great thing to have him as coach,” he remarked.

Before making his name for East Bengal, he represented Kerala in the Santosh Trophy and also presented Kerala State Electricity Board in the Kerala Premier League. However, his first major tournament as a footballer was the Santosh Trophy where he represented St. Joseph. Incidentally, he was a guest speaker at this year’s Santosh Trophy seminar and when asked about his memories, he said that the tournament holds a ‘special place in his heart’.

“When you are in school, you do not get a lot of platforms to prove yourself. When it comes to Subroto Cup, it offers good facilities and a great chance. I played in the tournament for St. Joseph in Trivandrum and it holds a special place in my heart,” he concluded.

First Published:
May 26, 2019 19:59 IST

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