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Malaysia beckons Vijyan

February 3,1998

The Indian Express

KOZHIKODE:I M Vijayan's dream of playing professional soccer abroad is likely to materialise next season. A first division club of Malaysia is on the lookout for this talented footballer and if the deal comes through, then Vijayan, captain of India's first professional football side, FC Kochin, will sign up for at least three months at the start of the next season. "Stephen Aberrowei, the Nigerian striker of JCT told me last month that his club in Malaysia had shown an interest in me and that the club's boss was keen to sign me on. Stephen, my former team-mate in JCT, always believed that we would make an effective attacking pair. He has promised to do the talking on my behalf, and has asked me to wait," said Vijayan."I had never been to Malaysia," said the striker. "But I have heard that the standard of the game is high in that country. If I get a chance to play there, then it will indeed benefit my career." Vijayan has not made any concrete decisions on his future. "Yes, Mohun Bagan haveapproached me with a good offer for next season. But my immediate concern is to help FC Kochin win the title this year," he said. It is learnt that Bagan, the Calcutta powerhouse, have plans to sign up the trio of Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri and Carlton Chapman for the next season. Chima Okerie, Vijayan's former partner in the Bagan attack, is said to be keen to have the gifted striker in the team. Chima and Vijayan had formed a deadly combination in the Bagan attack in the early '90s.<P>Reflecting on FC Kochin's performance in the ongoing Philips National Football League, Vijayan said: "True, we have not been able to play to our full potential in recent matches. But I am sure things will improve soon." Kochin have been struggling in the NFL after an impressive start. "It is too early to write off FC Kochin. There is still enough time for us to shrug off our blues and strike back," said the most sought after striker in Indian soccer. FC Kochin, who lost to Dempo, Salgaocar and Mohun Bagan, in the league,have paid a heavy price for relying almost soley on Vijayan. Kochin's record in the league has once again underlined the fact that the club's fortunes depend largely on the scoring prowess of Vijayan. The club has fared miserably whenever Vijayan failed to deliver the goods. Vijayan admitted that his career is going through a lean patch. "It is all part of the game. I am not a stranger to this kind of situation. It was there right from the start of my career. Still I have always been able to recover and bounce back. This time too I am confident of regaining my touch, at least in the second phase of the league. We have seven matches left and FCK have every chance to claim the title."None can deny the fact that we fared miserably in some matches," he said without pinpointing the areas where the team had flopped. "It seems we have failed to click as a team in those matches." Vijayan felt the overall standard of the game had come down in this edition of the NFL.

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