Abhijit Sarkar, who is about to begin his maiden season in the Indian Super League for Chennaiyin FC at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on Tuesday, is looking forward to renew brotherhood and rivalry with his former FIFA U-17 World Cup teammates at the ongoing tournament.
Sarkar has steadily progressed through the ranks from the AIFF Elite Academy to Indian Arrows, followed by a stint in East Bengal last season, before finally landing up in Chennaiyin for the current campaign.
"It's a new team for me. So it took some time for me to adjust to the new staff and new teammates. But day-by-day, I have become comfortable with everyone, as all my teammates have been very accommodating," said Sarkar as per the-aiff.com.
"We are sweating it out every day, and I'm really excited about the start of the ISL," he added.
The 20-year-old has fond memories with his former India U-17 and Indian Arrows mates, many of whom have themselves signed for different ISL sides.
"I really miss those days when we were all training together for the World Cup. I miss all my friends from that team. They're all like my brothers," recalled Sarkar.
"That experience of playing in the World Cup, and all the exposure matches that we played in the months leading up to the World Cup have helped me a lot," he added.
While some of the former Arrows boys like Deepak Tangri, Samik Mitra and Aman Chetri will be joining Abhijit at Chennaiyin this season, it is a separate matter when these "brothers" square-off against other former Arrows cadets who are now playing for other sides.
"Of course, when we are playing against each other, we are all enemies," said Sarkar. "During a game, you don't see who is your friend. We are all friends off the pitch, and we all keep in touch. But there's no love lost during the match.
"After the game, of course, we go back to being brothers again. We all speak to each other over the phone, and we talk about our games, so that camaraderie has always remained," he added.
The 20-year-old further said as this is his first stint in ISL, he is "doubly focused" on improving his game and proving himself at the big stage.