Brandon Fernandes keen to showcase his experience in the crucial tie against Kuwait 

KOLKATA: Brandon Fernandes will complete five years with the Indian national team on June 5. A day later would be perhaps the most important match of his Blue Tigers career. The dynamic midfielder has played his part in many crucial goals, delivering some notable assists over the past half a decade. He now hopes to create another such moment against Kuwait on Thursday.

“I hope I’m able to assist Chhetri bhai on June 6,” wished Fernandes, who feels lucky to share five of the legend’s 19 years in the national team.

“Our relationship is fantastic. Chhetri bhai is always open to discussing and sharing his knowledge about various things. When I first joined the team, he set a comfortable environment for me. On the pitch, we both are very compatible. We tend to gauge our moves quite well,” he added.

Many remember how Fernandes and Chhetri put their chemistry on display in a cheeky training-ground set-piece routine in the World Cup Qualifier against Oman in Guwahati in 2019. With a grounded low free-kick, the midfielder picked out the skipper, who lashed the ball home first time. “That was a good moment,” recalled Fernandes.

The Goan shared his thoughts on the five-year journey in India’s blue jersey: “It has been an amazing journey. It is an honour to represent the country, a huge responsibility, and I hope going forward, I’m able to continue for more years.”

Having registered seven assists in 25 appearances for India, his debut against Curacao in the 2019 King’s Cup in Thailand still remains the favourite moment of his career.

“Every time I walk onto the pitch wearing this jersey is a proud moment for me, but if I had to pick one it would be my debut match for it was a long-awaited opportunity I was seeking,” said Fernandes.

Although he has struggled a bit with injuries recently, only featuring in three of the last seven India matches, the former FC Goa captain showed exemplary form towards the back end of last season, scoring two sensational long-range strikes in the knockout stage of the ISL. But dealing with injuries and recovering well to be at his best again is something the 29-year-old has learned over the years.

“There’s one thing I always keep in mind that it is a part and parcel of our career and we can’t take things lightly. We have to be prepared for it and keep pushing physically and mentally at all times,” said Fernandes.

The feeling is great in the Blue Tigers camp at the moment. They have been training for over three weeks in Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, and with every passing day, the excitement builds up more and more.

“It’s been good so far. All of us are training and preparing well. The team is eagerly waiting for the match on 6th. We are excited to play in front of thousands of people in Kolkata.

“Kuwait is a very good team and we cannot take them lightly. We beat them before (November’s 1-0 win in Kuwait City) and I’m sure we can do it again. It’s going to be a tough game, we should keep our grounds and I’m sure we can come up victorious,” concluded Fernandes.

The match between India and Kuwait will be broadcast on Sports 18 1, Sports 18 1 HD, Sports 18 3, and streamed live on JioCinema, on June 6, 2024, at 19:00 IST.

Also read: Blue Tigresses hold hosts Uzbekistan to a goalless draw in second friendly

Also read: A three-pointer will be the best farewell gift for Sunil Bhai, says Subhasish Bose

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