CHENNAI: When debutants Jamshedpur FC secured the services of Sameehg Doutie for the new season of the Indian Super League, it was a win-win situation for both parties. The South African would get another chance to showcase his skills after his heroics for defending champions ATK while the Tata Steel-owned team would get a proven match winner.
Coach Steve Coppell was a known admirer of the pacy winger as he had employed Ishfaq Ahmed to man-mark him in the 2016 final during his time at the helm of Kerala Blasters. However, things have not worked out for both parties. Coppell has refrained from giving him starts, bringing him on late during games. Something that did not go down well with the 28-year-old.
After a match against Delhi Dynamos in December, he had had an argument with his teammates and left the team hotel without informing anybody. The team had a harrowing time trying to track him down. There were even talks of letting him go during the January transfer window because of a lack of professionalism. However, after a public apology via Twitter and a meeting with the team management facilitated by his agent, he remains a Jamshedpur FC player and is looking to make a fresh start.
“I know a lot of things happened. But it is like water under the bridge for me. Let’s not go over it. People have written lot of false things about me and there was a lot of mud slinging which was actually not the case. I want to prove myself now and I’m very happy playing for the gaffer,” Doutie told Express after his team’s training session here on Friday.
The race for the top-four has really heated up and Jamshedpur are currently fourth despite a rocky start. They have finally started some of the goal-scoring woes associated with the team during the initial stages of the campaign. With FC Pune City, FC Goa and Kerala Blasters FC in the fray, their match against Chennaiyin FC has taken on added importance.
“This is the business end now. Three matches to go and we need to put in everything we have to ensure qualification to the knockouts. The team has a lot of experience and that will be vital in our aim,” the South Africa U-23 international added.
The former Ajax Cape Town youth product is a big cricket fan, something that can be seen from his social media posts. He made sure to catch the entire Test series featuring South Africa and India. “It was sad to see my team lose in the ODIs. But the Test victory was quite special! Now over to the T20s. I’m sure they will come back stronger,” he said with a wry smile.