Anas Edathodika

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Anas Edathodika

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Source: Goal, 07-Jul-2015

NIKHIL JITENDRAN

Anas Edathodika was born in the northern Kerala district of Malappuram and took a keen interest in football from a very early age. He reportedly worked as an auto-rickshaw driver before his big break-through. It was at an inter-collegiate football event that Anas' talent was spotted by a former Indian international, Feroz Sherif, who urged the fledgling centre-back to attend a trial for the I-League second division side Mumbai FC. It was there that he was shortlisted and was offered a one-year deal with the Blue and Yellows.

He played the entire campaign for the side from the commercial capital ensuring they were promoted in 2007-08 and thereby cemented his place in the side. He signed a contract that year which tied him down to Mumbai FC for the next three years.

In 2011, he revealed that he was signing for Mumbai's archrivals from Maharashtra, Pune FC, after making over 70 appearances for the Mumbai-based side. He has continued with the Red Lizards of the Deccan since, bagging 88 appearances in four years for them. He helped them finish second in the I-League in the 2012-13, under coach Derrick Pereira. Thereafter, he was also voted as Pune FC's first Indian Player of The Year (POTY) after the 2012-13 season.

At a base price of Rs. 40 Lakhs, Anas represents seven seasons in the top flight with a record of significantly stable and sometimes match-winning performances in the rearguard for both his teams, an attribute prospective bidders will take note of, especially with him having played over 130 games throughout his career.

A tough tackler and with exceptional positional awareness and man-marking ability, Edathodika has the ability to nip an opposition's attack in the bud, before threat looms. He also has a burst of pace on him, enough to trouble and shackle the best of strikers. His partner in Pune FC's defense, Luciano Sobrosa, will attest to the defender's excellent communication skills and can also pose a threat at corners for the opposition, making excellent use of his 5'11" frame, becoming a hindrance for aerial challenging opponents as well.

Moreover, teams won't be spoilt for choice for a defender who has an optimum mix of experience and ability in the draft.

Pune FC's struggles last season came partly because Anas only played in 10 of their fifth place finishing I-League campaign. Significant injury problems have hampered his progress, particularly towards the fag-end of the last season where he had ruptured a muscle in his leg, ruling him out for a significant amount of time. So for a player just returning from injury and with limited game time in the last few months, it might be a gamble. He seemed to be perturbed by bad form for parts of this season, which forced coach Karim Bencherifa to drop him after a couple of poor performances. All in all he doesn't head into this seaon in the best of confidence.

Also, with no international experience to add to his resume, unlike many of his fellow ISL auction compatriots, Anas' ability to handle pressure will be questioned.

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