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Rehenesh is now a key member of Jamshedpur’s starting lineup …
The 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) is a crucial season in the professional career of Malaysian goalkeeper TP Rehenesh. The custodian had unsuccessful stints at NorthEast United and Kerala Blasters and received much criticism for his displays between the clubs of the Yellow Army during the 2019-20 season.
But things seem to have changed for him at Jamshedpur FC and Rehenesh has managed to turn his fortunes around. The goalie is currently one of the most important players in Owen Coyle’s starting lineup, he has started every game that was available for selection so far for the Men of Steel. He’s made more than a few brilliant saves to keep the team in the top four.
To find out why there has been such a marked difference in player performance levels at their current and former clubs, it is worth exploring the cultural differences of how the game is viewed in these two cities. It may not be better or worse in Kerala Blasters, but it is definitely different.
In Jamshedpur, Rehenesh looks carefree. He appears to be enjoying the importance Coyle has placed on him and has not appeared to be under pressure from fans at any point thus far.
“Well, I can only talk about my goalkeeper, but there are very good goalkeepers in the league. Today was the Indian international at the other end, Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu) made some fantastic saves today. But, about Rehenesh, when I was taking him to the club I spoke to him beforehand and told him what I needed from him, “Coyle said after Jamshedpur FC’s 1-0 win over Bengaluru FC.
“On the back of that, I was determined to sign it, which I did. There are still areas where I want him to keep improving and strive to improve. But he’s a wonderful boy and he gives us everything we need from a goalkeeper, ”said the 54-year-old.
Clearly, the approach that Coyle has taken with Rehenesh and the work that the support staff has done with him has increased the confidence of the goalkeeper, who was sunk at his previous club.
Rehenesh’s performance in Kerala was very poor to say the least and it could be argued that she was the victim of abuse on social media at times. His confidence skyrocketed and he never really recovered from it.
Seven months ago, a teary-eyed TP Rehenesh stood apologetically in front of the Kerala Blasters supporters in attendance at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium after a heavy 6-3 loss at the hands of Chennaiyin in Kochi. He had given his opponents a goal for a goalkeeper’s blunder and both outside the stadium and on social media, the abuses that were thrown at the player were unstoppable.
Another factor to consider is the quality of the defenders in front of him. So far, Rehenesh has made 27 saves, the most of any goalkeeper in ISL this season, and kept three clean sheets (only the top two teams Mumbai City and ATK Mohun Bagan have more) in nine games. However, he has much better leadership in front of him, thanks to the experience of Peter Hartley and Stephen Eze.
Coyle’s tactics have also helped the goalkeeper. The former Chennaiyin coach doesn’t want his team to get bored, but he’s also not a fan of possession-based soccer to win matches and he’s not addicted to having his goalkeepers play from behind every time he receives the ball. For a caretaker like Rehenesh, it helps.
It’s been a phenomenal change in Rehenesh’s career so far, but the season is only halfway through. The team looks really good for a playoff contender and Malayali are on track to complete a massive comeback from their disastrous season in Kochi.