Pune City FC player, Adil Khan, who battled a career-ending injury is in stride for the new season with a new club.
Adil Khan emerged as the hero for Pune City FC as he scored the winner at the half an hour mark against Jamshedpur FC in an Indian Super League (ISL) away fixture at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.
Now playing at the heart of the defense, the 29-year old started his career as a striker. The number of positions that he has switched in the field of football are almost equivalent to the number of injuries that he has suffered.
In 2015, Adil sustained a posterior cruciate ligament injury while playing for I-league club Bharat FC that forced him out of football for 12-15 months. With this being his fourth knee injury, the thought of quitting football had entered his mind. “You see your partners and colleagues, who played with you doing well and that becomes frustrating. I thought of finding a job and starting over, but my passion for the sport is bigger than that,” said Adil, who scored on his debut for Pune City FC.
After his comeback, not many clubs were keen on signing him as the season was ending. Adil decided to join second division I-league club Lonestar Kashmir to get back in the groove and find first team action.
Now, a sturdy defender, Adil is a product of SESA football academy, Goa. He spent five years with them playing as a striker, until his coach decided to play him as a defensive midfielder. The other change came with him making his professional debut at Sporting Clube de Goa where he spent another five years.
After looking at his built, the new coach placed him in the defence, where he would play as the right-back and sometimes in his preferred midfield position. But following his injury, he was forced out of first division football for a long period, as his return was around the time when the season was about to end. He reinvented himself as a centre-back when he joined Churchill Brothers last year playing 18 matches for his hometown club. Although he sits at the centre of the defense, he can be used in the midfield as well. “As long as you are getting to play, the position does not matter. My expertise extends to many positions, wherever the team needs me,” said Adil who has been nicknamed ‘Bhai’ by his teammates as he is a big fan of actor Salman Khan.
Adil believes that he would not be playing at the big level if it was not for his friend Cech Durado, who sat down with his father. “ I take my friend’s name every time because he was the one who explained to my father that there is a scope in football as he was not aware of the possibilities. Since then, my family has been supportive of my endeavors even through the hardest times of injury,” he recalls.
In his long-drawn-career in football, the Adil has made only three international appearances for India, debuting against Azerbaijan in 2012. Since then he has not had a taste of international football. Making a comeback to fitness last year with a dreamy season with Churchill Brothers, Adil was expecting a call-up but was left disappointed.With Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodika being India’s first choice as centre-halves, his chances are weak. “Anas is a great player and Sandesh has improved a lot. But if I play well this season with Pune (City FC), I think my return is not impossible,” said Adil.