11th January, Bhubaneswar: It is almost a year since Sreenidi Deccan Football Club brought Rilwan Hassan to the shores of India and the Nigerian winger has gone from strength to strength, becoming a key part of the Deccan Warriors’ attacking unit under Portuguese tactician Carlos Vaz Pinto. A healthy return of 5 goals and 1 assist in his first 12 matches saw Hassan renewing his contract with Sreenidi Deccan FC and he has appeared in each of their 12 matches this season.
“It has been a great experience so far for me in India,” said Hassan. “The warm welcome I received from both my fantastic teammates and the staff made me feel welcome in the Sreenidi Deccan family.”
For a player who spent the majority of his career in Denmark, making more than 250 appearances for local powerhouse FC Midtjylland in the Danish Superliga and UEFA Europa League, coming to India was a leap into the unknown for Hassan. But he was impressed by Sreenidi Deccan FC’s vision and infrastructure, making him settle in faster.
“The club is a new team that’s improving day by day and I am really impressed by the development shown right from the first day I came here. The stadium is of the highest standard and the facilities are second to none as well,” remarked Hassan.
The Nigerian has been used as a left winger in Carlos Vaz Pinto’s 4-3-3, occasionally swapping wings with Rosenberg Gabriel, and he admits it took some time getting used to the tactical setup. “I am happy for the playing time ever since I came here but it was not as easy in the beginning, requiring a lot of hard work and commitment,” he said. “Now, we have lots of fantastic and talented players in each position and that makes it even more competitive but I know I can contribute more.”
Hassan’s goal contributions may not have hit the numbers of the previous season but it speaks volumes that he is one of the first names on the team sheet. “Personally, I know that I need to start adding more goals and assists and I am ready to do everything to keep fit and give everything for this badge. We know that the league is very important for Sreenidi Deccan FC and also for us as players and it’s not going to get easier if we don’t give more than what we gave in the first round.”