Kolkata: Mamunul Islam, who is the first Bangladeshi skipper to play in a foreign football league after being signed by city franchise Atletico de Kolkata (ATK), hopes his stint in Indian Super League (ISL) will pave the way for his compatriots to play in India. (ISL Trophy Launched in Glittering Ceremony)
The star midfielder, who was Sunday handed over the team jersey by ATK assistant coach Jose Ramirez Barreto at the Salt Lake stadium here, said it was a dream come true for him to play for a Kolkata team.
"I have always been a big fan of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal football clubs and always had a dream to play in Kolkata. I think playing for ATK is the biggest achievement of my career," Islam told mediapersons here.
The 25-year-old, who also skippers Bangladesh Premier League champions Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, said he will play his heart out for ATK which might open the gates for Bangladeshi players to play in India, especially Kolkata.
"I will give more than my hundred percent for ATK and if I can do well both on the field as well as off it, then it might help other players from Bangladesh to play in India, especially Kolkata," he said.
Observing that ISL will contribute immensely towards growth of Indian football, Islam advocated a similar league for developing the sport back home.
"The kind of infrastructure, expert guidance that is available to the players here is great. I am really enjoying the environment. If we have a similar league back home then it will surely help in growth of Bangladesh football," said Islam before turning out with his teammates for a cancer awareness exhibition match.
Organised by city's sports photographers, the exhibition match is being played between ATK and Pinki Roy's XI to raise awareness for cancer. The proceeds from the match will go to Roy, a cancer patient.
Players from several city football clubs, including Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, turned up for Pinki Roy's XI.