THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: We all know M S Dhoni's journey from a goalkeeper to a wicketkeeper, but here is a guy who trod that path in the reverse direction. Meet Mirshad K from Kasargod who is hopeful of keeping the goal for Kolkata football giants East Bengal FC in the upcoming domestic season.
Mirshad produced a string of impressive performances for Gokulam FC in the Kerala state club football championship and the Kerala Premier League impressing East Bengal scout and former India international Alvito D'Cunha who advised the club to sign him along with KSEB forward Joby Justin.
But long before that, while being a ninth standard student of the Kakkad Government HSS, Mirshad was noticed by coach Nidheesh B for his wicketkeeping abilities who suggested him to take up the goalkeeper's role in the school team. The youngster did as he was told and has not looked back since.
"I was into cricket and hadn't played football before then. But in three years' time, I was the youngest member of the Kasargod district team that won the state inter-district championship at Wayanad in 2012," said the 23-year-old who produced crucial saves in the semifinal and final tiebreakers.
Mirshad started playing in the state's sevens football circuit since his 10th standard and once again helped Kasargod become state champions in 2016. But his big break came when he moved to Goa Professional League side FC Bardez coached by former national team gaffer Armando Colaco.
"I was told by former East Bengal captain Suresh Muttathu to attend the trials and they asked me to stay back," said Mirshad. "It was turning point in my career working under Colaco, assistant coach Climax Lawrence and goalkeeper coach Chandrakant Naik," he said.
"It was difficult to adapt to the elevens game after playing sevens over the years. But in Goa, I learned a lot about the game and changed my technique as a goalkeeper which has helped me a lot since," said Mirshad.
After a spell in Goa, he returned to Kerala with newbies Gokulam FC. "I knew I was being watched by East Bengal during the KPL and thankfully, I could maintain my form throughout the tournament," said Mirshad.
The Kasargod lad has already signed a contract with the Kolkata giants and is expected to report for preseason training on July 13. "I will definitely fight to get a starting spot in the team. It will be an honour to put on the red and gold jersey," said Mirshad.