There are only a handful of players in the Indian Super League for whom the crowd goes gaga whenever they enter the field. John Stiven Mendoza, Chennaiyin FC’s star striker, certainly falls in the category.
The 23-year-old, who played a key role last year for the Chennai outfit, before getting injured during the later stages, continues to be the flag-bearer for the team in the second edition with his penchant for goal-scoring.
Of the 10 scored by the team, Mendoza has struck six (he is the leading scorer in the league).
In this interview, the Colombian speaks (through a translator) about his relationship with Elano, among other things.
The mood in the camp after losing the first two matches?
It was disappointing as we had trained hard. We were always thinking of the next match. We were obviously not happy with the results, but were confident of turning this around.
In the third match against FC Goa at Goa, you were at your best scoring three goals…
The whole team felt very very good because we knew we had trained to the best of our abilities and we rectified our mistakes and worked on them. Having scored three goals, it felt like all the training had paid dividends.
How is it to play with Elano?
I have been able to strike a very good relationship with Elano. Last year and this year, when he went back to Brazil, we kept talking. Our relationship strengthened (as players). Now I know I have a very good friend on and off the field.
On the Indian players…
I feel the Indian players overall are really good, committed and train hard. The ones in Chennaiyin FC are better than the other clubs.
On the chances of representing Colombia in the National team?
I think for me to play in the team, I have to be at my best. It’s a matter of time.
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