Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], February 16 (ANI): Much like the I-League table, the top scorers' chart is as close as ever as we near the end of the first phase of the competition. The latest player to join the fray in the frantic race for the prestigious award is Real Kashmir's Nigerian striker Lukman Adefemi.
The 26-year-old announced his intent with a hat-trick in his side's thrilling 4-3 victory over NEROCA FC, earlier this week. Lukman is currently joint-second with four goals, alongside Komron Tursunov of TRAU FC, and Chencho Gyeltshen of RoundGlass Punjab FC, just one behind Clayvin Zuniga of Churchill Brothers FC Goa.
Looking back upon his stellar performance in the match against NEROCA FC, Lukman stated that the fans of Real Kashmir motivate him to go out there every match and score the goals.
"It was a great moment for me to score a hat-trick in the last game. I feel really happy with this team, as everyone put in a shift in their own areas, and that allowed me to score the goals. All of us derive our motivation from the people of Kashmir. I absolutely love the fans back in Kashmir, because every time we step out onto the pitch, we know that they will be by our side, no matter what," stated Lukman.
"Even during the pandemic, when we can't have fans inside the stadium, we feel the love from the fans on social media, and that really motivates us to give our 100 per cent in the matches," he said.
While Lukman had previously plied his trade in countries like Nigeria, Serbia, Mozambique, and Oman, the 26-year-old was already aware of Kashmir and its love for football.
"I like Kashmir. I knew some players who have played in Kashmir, and I spoke to them. They motivated me to play here. I also had a teammate in Oman, who sang praises about Kashmir - about this place, about the weather and then I made my mind up and signed for this club," stated Lukman.
While the Nigerian forward does not believe in keeping personal targets, he aims to score as many goals as possible to help his side clinch its maiden I-League title.
"I have not made any personal target, as the team comes first. I will try my best to score for my team in each game that I play. With the squad we have, I am sure Real Kashmir can win the tournament," he stated.
Hailing from Abeokuta, Nigeria, Lukman started with the ball at his feet from an early age. While he managed to balance his studies and sports in his younger years, the budding striker soon made the choice to pursue a career in the beautiful game.
"After finishing my schooling, I started to concentrate on the sport and became a professional footballer. I have always had a passion for football. I guess it comes from my father, who used to play locally back home. I used to go to training with him at times. I followed in his steps and choose to play football," recalled Lukman.
Now at Real Kashmir, the 26-year-old is learning from the experience of gaffer David Robertson, who himself has the experience of playing in big clubs like Glasgow Rangers and Leeds United.
"The coach (David Robertson) and I have a good relationship. He is a good coach, with tons of experience. He is helping me to better my game, which in turns helps the team to perform better. We have a good squad of players -- both foreigners and local talent, with which we are going to fight hard for the title," said Lukman. (ANI)