Kean for a fight

He’s Taken Every Hit On The Chin And Worked Hard Relentlessly And Things Are Beginning To Look Up For Kean Lewis In A BFC Shirt…

Kean Lewis is a journalist’s delight and a media manager’s nightmare. With him, what you see is what you get. No sitting on the fence, no diplomatic retorts, none of that. The tone used to speak about setbacks is the same one used to talk about success. There’s a level of consistency and what makes it remarkable is the fact that he’s been on his own little rollercoaster ride that he believes is beginning to glide straight, finally.

Injuries and a subsequent fallout with the then Pune coach Ranko Popovic meant Kean had it as rough as it comes. But he says he refused to let the circumstances alter his resolve to keep working hard. “I didn’t get any starts while I was in Pune and the games that I did get a chance to come on in, were at the start of the season. I wasn’t really favoured and there was a visible lack of faith from the coach in me. When the time came for teams to make their signings for the next season, I wasn’t in anyone’s memory. The good thing though is that I kept working hard,” recalls Keen.

While he didn’t have too much playing time to show for, his time with Mohun Bagan and Delhi Dynamos was indication enough of the quality he possesses. “Despite all the drawbacks, I did have a few clubs wanting me and that was encouraging.” The winger eventually chose to sign for Bengaluru and there was a lot of thought behind that decision. “After Pune, I realised that I needed to be at a place where my mind is at ease. I wanted to come to a club where I’m encouraged and all I’m worrying about is the football. I had heard so much about Bengaluru FC, the management and the professionalism the club exudes and I can safely say, all of it is true.”

The deal might have been signed on, but Kean’s battles hadn’t ended. A strain in a ligament on his fascia meant the lad from Mumbai came to pre-season with an injury. “I was working on the programme sent by the club, in Mumbai. However, the only pitch I had access to was one with artificial turf and that did the damage. I needed time to recover and that went on while I was with the team in Spain. I wasn’t training or playing at a time when the coach is deciding his plans for the season. He needed to see enough of me but couldn’t. It’s not how you want to start your pre-season!”

Kean kept at it and got his chance off the bench in both legs of the AFC Cup Inter-Zone semifinal against Altyn Asyr. And while the Blues were vanquished both home and away, Keen showed glimpses of what he could bring to the team.

The rollercoaster we told you about wasn’t a term loosely thrown around. The leg had healed completely, he got the look in he was waiting for in two key games and just when things began looking up for Kean, a skin allergy laid him low for three weeks. “I lost all the fitness I gained. I had to start from scratch. But football is my job and if it means I have to go through the paces all over again, well, I will,” he says.

After missing out on the first two games in the ISL, Kean has been Cuadrat’s go-to guy on the bench more often than not. He came on against Pune, Kerala and Goa and was a livewire in every one of those performances. It was his move that led to the winner against the Blasters in Kochi and Kean hopes he will every moment count. “It feels nice to be called on with the hope that you can make a difference and my sole aim is work hard with those minutes.”

While the aim is to knock for a start on the wings, Kean knows what he’s up against when it comes to fight for a place. “Sunil and Udanta play for the national team and will be first choice more often than not. I knew this before I signed. Then again, that is also the reason I signed – to gain the experience of playing alongside players who represent the county. It also means I have no choice but to fight every day.”

And Kean does know a thing or two about a fight.

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