Away from spotlight, Fikru fights for survival

Question for all Indian football fans. Who was the first-ever goalscorer in the Indian Super League? For those, who do not know, it was Fikru Teferra Lemessa.

Published: 03rd May 2018 02:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd May 2018 02:08 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Question for all Indian football fans. Who was the first-ever goalscorer in the Indian Super League? For those, who do not know, it was Fikru Teferra Lemessa. The Ethiopian created history in the 28th-minute as his shot from the edge of the penalty box found the net for Atletico de Kolkata.He netted a four times more as he inspired his franchise to inaugural ISL title. Disciplinary issues and a hamstring injury forced Atletico to let go of the striker.

He came back to haunt his old franchise in the very next season, scoring against them for Chennaiyin FC. Though, his goals dried up, he managed to win the crown again for his new side.Those heady days have long since passed and the Ethiopian is currently plying his trade in the I-League second division for Mohammedan Sporting. He reminisces those days fondly. I wanted to make a mark and I did that. My experiences playing all over the world came in handy.

I was well prepared and managing to win two consecutive titles are something that I look back upon fondly, he told Express.After his time in the ISL, the 32-year-old had received a variety of offers from I-League clubs. He admits that he regrets turning those down. In his own words, I really enjoyed my time in the City of Joy. I got a lot of money from Bangladesh and South Africa so I decided to move. I got a lot of love from the city. I really wanted to come back. Finally, Mohammedan gave me the chance. It has not been plain sailing.

He has played a part in only five matches so far, failing to find the net even once. The Kolkata giants have failed to light up the stage, losing to reserve sides of Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC. They are fourth in Group C and in danger of not making the next round.Known for his famous somersault celebration, Fikru is also known to be controversy's favourite child. And that moniker is yet to leave him. The management have sent a show cause notice to the star, capped 30 times by his national team, for his errant ways on and off the pitch, but Fikru paints a different tale.

I signed for a period of three months. After coming here, I have seen the club officials lining their own pockets with money instead of paying players. The young Indian players are suffering the most. I have even given my teammates a part of my salary to help them survive. Now they are trying to come up with flimsy excuses just to shut me out. Let the club do what they feel is right. I know the laws of the game. I'm not worried, he signed off.

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