Mumbai: Atletico de Kolkata's Mohammed Rafique, who scored the winning goal in the inaugural Indian Super League football tournament's final, said he will cherish his 20 minutes on the field for the rest of his life.
"Everyone dreams of playing in the final. I too wanted to play in the final and for that I worked hard and the coach saw that. These 30 (20) minutes are the most important minutes of my life. When I was given this opportunity, I thought I will give it my best. I thank God for helping me emerge as the hero," Rafique said.
The 22-year-old headed the winning goal in stoppage time, after starting from the bench in the 74th minute, to help his team win 1-0 over Kerala Blasters.
Making his second appearance in the tournament, Rafique said he reaped the rewards for his hard work.
"I feel very good. I do not have words to express. I practiced during the entire tournament. Maybe I was not suited to the system the coach wanted to play. So maybe that's why I was on the bench. After that I was played and I have proved myself," the Bengal player said.
"My coach (Antonio Habas) just told me to continue practicing and keep working hard. When you do that, your efforts ultimately always bear fruit," he added.
The former United SC player praised skipper Luis Garcia and said he learnt a lot from the Spanish midfielder.
"He is in a class of his own. Whatever you talk about him, it's less. There was a lot to learn from him - his practice, how he received the ball and just about everything.
I learnt a lot to improve myself," the youngster said.