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Irfan Junejo’s Rovers For Life

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I still remember the day when Talha came to me in the bus while we were on our way back with the school team from Masroor base. He said that he would like for me to play for Rovers and that he`ll call me at a friendly match very soon. I thought to myself that he will soon forget about it but after a few days I saw a post by him at the Rovers` orkut page which read, “Guys, I saw this player from cantt bazaar and he is good. I`ll be calling him at the practice in a few days so you all can take a look”. Reading this made me realize that Talha did mean whatever he said.

Time went by and I kept on waiting for my Rovers` call and the day did finally come in the November of 2005 when I was crossing the road in front of my school when Osama approached me from behind and said, “Irfan aj Ammar bhai ne bulaya ha tumhe, ek match hai. Panch baje AD mart”, and the rest as they say is history.

It has almost been six years since I played my first match for Rovers and when I look back all I see is the massive impact of Rovers and its impossible for me to imagine how my life would have been had I not been a part of Rovers.

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You know you are good when people start calling you by your last name. Before Rovers no one even knew my last name let alone address me by it but ever since ‘Junejo’ has been on the back of my shirt it has become the name that people call me by. My reputation and association with Rovers has always preceded me, whether it be in a guest appearance for another club or try outs for my university team.

I was always an above average player and I had known that but Rovers transformed me from a ‘good’ player to a ‘star’ and I mean it in a very good sense. Trust me when I say that the feeling is priceless when the crowd is chanting your name, but it is nothing when compared to an old man coming up to you after match and saying, “Tumhare sath tumhara maa ka dua hai”. None of this would have happened had I not been a part of Rovers.

I owe it all to Rovers again that in my teenage I have experienced what stardom feels like. I have experienced what it feels like when the crowd is placing bets on you being on the score sheet and on your team to win, I have experienced what it feels when the opponents fear you, what it feels like when you score a hat-trick and the match is being televised live on a satellite television and it is only because of Rovers that I know what it feels like when scoring one penalty can win you a tournament and you place it straight into the keeper`s hands.

Rovers did not have practice sessions when I joined, they have been started lately hence the impact of Rovers on my life has always been more psychological than physical. It is hard to gauge one`s psychological standing but it is crystal clear to me at least that I now know how to control my temper, how to work as a team, how to motivate others, how to stay humble during highs and motivated during lows.

Thus, I cannot imagine playing football without it being for Rovers. I always used to say jokingly that I will never leave Rovers unless I get an offer from Milan or Barca but since that won`t be happening anytime soon I still say it but in a much more serious tone that I will never leave Rovers. I got offers from other clubs and departments and I still get them but my football is confined to Rovers only. It is not because it is a good club, but because it is much more than a club.

This star did rise from F.C Rovers and inshaAllah it will fizzle out at Rovers as well but I want to thank all my team mates and specifically Ammar Bhai for making me a better person and for giving me stories to boast about in front of my grandchildren.

I`ll keep on telling them about ‘the legend of IJ7’.

-Irfan Junejo

8th Sep 2011

P.S. This write up is not an announcement for my retirement. Please don`t be fooled.

 

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