Leaving East Bengal was my decision, says Plaza
New Delhi: Churchill Brother's striker Willis Deon Plaza, who prepares for his tie AIFF Super Cup's round of 16 match against Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday, said prolonged injury and pressure of expectation was the reason why he left Kingfisher East Bengal last January.
"Leaving East Bengal was my decision, it wasn't forced upon me," said the 30-year-old striker. "I and the club took the decision together as I was nursing an injury for a while and the club needed a striker who could play. And I also was looking for a fresh start from the pressure that comes for playing for the club, so it was best in interest for both me and the club."
Plaza made eight appearances for Khalid Jamil-coached side last season, scoring twice – interestingly both against his current club in a 3-2 win, which also saw him scoring a stellar injury-time winner.
Talking more about the pressure of playing for a club like Red & Gold, Plaza said: "East Bengal is a great club, and like any other great club, there is a massive expectation of winning everything in a season. There is pressure on everyone coach, players, management. So when the results are not coming in your favour, the pressure of delivering on players increases."
After making his last appearance is the Kolkata derby against Mohun Bagan for a losing cause (2-0), the striker from Trinidad & Tobago moved to second division side Mohammedan Sportings but couldn't play a single minute for them due to injury
Early March, he was wrapped up by Churchill Brothers to replace Congolese strike Siyo Zunapio. Ten days later, the Caribbean striker scored twice for his new club. Being modest, Plaza said he owed the win against ISL Dynamos to the entire team.
"It was not just me who performed in that match but the whole team did. It was a complete team effort and we clicked as a side and got the job done. We conceded early but we didn't let Delhi breathe easy after that and I am just glad to find the winner but my teammates made it possible.
Talking about his new stint at the Goan club, Plaza said he feels comfortable at Churchill Brothers as the perpetuating burden of expectation is not there anymore.
"In Goa, there is no pressure, but make no mistake we want to win but they don't start to blame individuals for a failure. They have shown a lot of confidence and faith in my ability from day one and I feel it was a right decision to be here," he explained.
Talking about super Sunday clash against the Mohun Bagan, Plaza said pressure will be on Mariners to perform as they are favourite. However, since it's a do-or-die clash with no home or away advantage it's anybody's game.
"Bagan are a huge club so they are favourites for the gameand the pressure is on them but it's a knockout match
and anything can happen over 90 minutes. None of the clubs have home support in their favour, which makes the tie more even. We just need to repeat our performance from the last match," Plaza concluded.