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Kean Lewis Doesn't Regret Leaving Leicester City to Play in India

Kean Lewis impressed coaches at Leicester who wanted him to stay, but that would have meant that his parents would have also had to move to the United Kingdom since Lewis was a minor.

Arjit Dabas | News18 Sports

Updated:November 15, 2017, 8:46 AM IST
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Kean Lewis Doesn't Regret Leaving Leicester City to Play in India
Kean Lewis was in demand during the ISL draft and FC Pune City picked him. (News18 Sports)
New Delhi: 'You Play the Cards You're Dealt' says FC Pune City winger Kean Lewis, who wishes to see the glass half full rather than half empty.

The 25-year-old was selected to train with Leicester City when he was just 14 and was part of the Premier India Football Academy (PIFA).

"I started taking football seriously when I was 12, I enrolled in the PIFA and the owners were impressed with me, and I was sent to train with Leicester City. I was staying with the U-18 boys in the hostel and used to train with the U-14s and U-16s," Lewis tells News18.

He impressed the coaches at Leicester who wanted him to stay but that would have meant that his parents would have also had to move to the United Kingdom since Lewis was a minor at that time.

"My father is a business man and it was a difficult decision, considering that the family would have had to leave everything behind and start afresh in a new country without any source of income. Life could have been different but you play the cards you're dealt," Lewis adds, not regretting the decision.

However, Lewis came back and joined the Mahindra Football Academy before eventually joining the Tata Football Academy, which is the most prestigious academy in India.

"TFA remains the best academy for football in India. You play, sleep, eat football there. It's run professionally. 80% of the players who were with me now ply their trade in ISL or I-League," Lewis, says talking about the TFA.

The Maharashtra lad went to United States to further hone his skills before Kolkata Giants Mohun Bagan came knocking on the doors for the attacker.

"I consider myself fortunate to play in both the ISL and the I-League. I started in the Calcutta League but unfortunately was second in the line behind Sony Norde when it came to the I-League but it was a great learning experience."

Then, ISL happened and Lewis was signed by the Delhi Dynamos in 2016 where he was one of the most impressive players in the league.

Lewis played on the wings and formed a lethal trio with Marcelinho and Richard Gadze. He scored 4 goals in 14 appearances and had a couple of assists to his name. Many expected him to make cut for the Indian squad but the call never came.

"I am not in touch with anyone the Indian national team, I just want to focus on my training. It (India call-up) is all about the timing and it’s going to happen when the time is right," Lewis says talking about representing India.

The pacy winger was in demand during the ISL draft picked up by FC Pune City and Lewis is delighted to be closer to home with his family and friends.

"It has been fairly easy to settle here, my family lives close by. I have got friends in the city. In Delhi, I used to just stay in the hotel," he says.

Lewis was also all praise for the setup at FC Pune City and said that he will have a different role this year as compared to his role in Dynamos which bought him to everyone's attention.

"We have been training well and working hard. I am comfortable playing on the wings but I will have a slightly different role here, I will be focussing on the defensive duties too as this is a different setup."

FC Pune City remains the only club which has never made it to the top 4 but Lewis remains optimistic about his side's chances.

"We are training well and have had a pre-season in India to adjust to the conditions. We have played a couple of friendlies but the real test will come once the season starts. I feel we have the team that can make it to the finals," Lewis says about the team.

He also voiced support for a combined ISL and I-League with more teams as that would be something beneficial for both the players and the country.

"Ideally, one 9-10 month league with 18 teams would be perfect. That means the players will also be employed for a longer time and the Indian setup will also have close to 360-400 players," Lewis signed off.
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