Having gone through the ordeal of nursing a cracked right shin that put him out of action for eleven months, Mondal completed a sensational return at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
That was Pune FC's first win, but for Mondal it was also about walking off with the Man of the Match honour, which was quite in contrast to the last time he played in Shillong. It was back on January 28 2012.
Monday clashed with
Eugeneson Lyngdoh and was stretchered off.
Since then much has changed. The Kolkata born custodian has recovered, is close to being at his best and in fact, began his second stint against Sporting Clube de Goa (November 27, 2012).
“Before the match, all the while, including our trip to Shillong, the thought kept coming to my mind,” Mondal explained after the game. “I always had doubt in my mind and it was kind of building within. However, by figuring in the playing eleven in earlier rounds I had confidence.”
He added, “It was a question of going out on the pitch and ending the negative thought. On arrival in Shillong, thoughts about the incident flashed in my mind. But once I held a couple of balls during practice I felt better… The rest completes my story.”
Fact is, Mondal did run into Eugeneson in Shillong. “He (Eugeneson) asked me how I was. Said sorry once again to which I explained that it is part of the game… it could have happened to anyone… back then it was my bad day out.”
On receiving the Man of the Match, Mondal explained, “Out there I was trying to get as much confidence to myself. It was important for me. But once the game got going I realized all will be well.”
With Pune FC securing victory, he admits, “The match was tough for both. It’s not easy for visiting sides to win in Shillong. The home team plays tough, the crowd turnout is strong… add the cold weather and one realizes that the the ones regularly play in these conditions can cope. Visiting teams are not used to all these factors.”
While all round success remained the high-point of Pune FC’s trip to Shillong, Mondal on his part felt, “My past memory has been wiped out and a look to progress to a new chapter in my life. Thank God.”