KOLKATA: While the Indian Super League (ISL) campaign is not yet over for nine of the players, who will join a national camp a day after the ISL final, it has very much come to a close for Akash Mishra, and the fullback is now motivating himself to make another push for a permanent place in the national team colours.
It is the fag end of the 2022-23 Indian Football season, and the FIFA International Window drawing ever so nearer, the Blue Tigers set camp in Kolkata to prepare for the upcoming Tri-Nation International Football Tournament in Imphal.
"It's always nice to be back (in the National camp). The best players in the country are here, and it's a great experience to learn from them every time," Mishra told the-aiff.com.
"The atmosphere is quite different from the league games. Youngsters like myself get to learn a lot from the senior players like Sunil Chhetri, or Gurpreet Singh, not just on the pitch, but off it as well."
The National team is currently preparing for the AFC Asian Cup next year, and the matches against Myanmar (March 22) and the Kyrgyz Republic (March 28) in the Tri-Nation International Football Tournament, are part of the series of competitive International games planned by the Federation to help the team get up to the desired level to face the best in Asia.
"International games have a totally different intensity, they are nothing compared to league games. The motivation levels are different, and I believe these matches help us all improve as a team," Mishra is quoted as saying in a report by the AIFF website.
The 21-year-old fullback himself has come back from his club Hyderabad FC after the disappointment of being on the wrong end of an ISL semifinal penalty shootout. However, the youngster has picked himself back up and is raring to go.
"It's difficult to come back from that kind of a loss. Playing the whole 120 minutes, and then losing on penalties takes its toll. But for me, a call-up to the National Team comes above everything else," said Mishra.
"It does not matter what situation I'm coming from, be it a loss, an injury, or any other setback. It's always a privilege to be called for the India camp, so that is motivation enough to pick myself back up and get going again," he added.
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