The pacy forward from Portugal has thus far plied his trade in nine different countries, including four – Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Japan – in Asia. Isma, during an interaction with DT Next, stated that the prior experience of playing in this continent will hold him in good stead during his debut stint in the Indian Super League (ISL).
“I love to experience different countries and cultures. Along the way, I have met numerous people who have shaped me as a footballer and a person. Having played in Asia before, I think that I will be able to adapt to India quickly,” said free agent Isma, who penned a one-year contract with the two-time ISL champion on Sunday.
Chennaiyin’s current overseas contingent comprises three Brazilians in Rafael Crivellaro, Eli Sabia and Memo Moura, with the trio well-versed in Portuguese. Asked if the common language will help him gel better with his new teammates, Isma replied: “Of course, it makes things easier when you are around people who speak your native language. Even with others, I won’t have a problem while communicating. I speak English like most people in India.”
Isma is CFC head coach Csaba Laszlo’s third foreign signing of the transfer window, following the arrivals of Bosnian central defender Enes Sipovic and the versatile Memo. The frontman revealed that the boss convinced him to join the Marina Machans.
“I spoke extensively to Laszlo before I signed for Chennaiyin. My conversations with him played a huge role in me coming to India. I also had a chat with former CFC player Andrea Orlandi, who was my teammate at Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta,” he added.
Isma will replace ISL 2019-20 ‘Golden Boot’ winner Nerijus Valskis or Andre Schembri in the forward line. Although a lot is expected of him, the Guinea Bissau-born player is positive about racking up the goals in the upcoming season in Goa. “I don’t like to compare myself with others. I just want to play and score goals. Hopefully, I can help the club achieve its objective of winning the title again,” concluded Isma.