Indian Football Team can get into Top 100 within 18 months says Subrata Pal

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An agile Subrata Pal during a practice session at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.

SINGAPORE: There’s a certain calm in Subrata pal which is bound to strike you. A day prior to the International Friendly against Singapore, the ‘Spiderman’ spoke at length to www.the-aiff.com about Wim Koevermans, the changes in the National squad, FIFA Rankings and his assessment of Singapore as a Team. EXCERPTS:

The fans say there’s a World Class Goalkeeper in our team.

 (Subrata smiles hesitantly). There are 130 crore people in our country and they are independent to have their own mind. But I have been fortunate enough to be accepted by all across the length and breadth of the country. The fans love my style of play and their love always serves as an inspiration to improve. My job is to work hard and there can be no comprise on that.

How terrible was the phase when injury kept you out of the National Team?

 Not only the National Team but also from action. I wish all sportpersons were able to stay away from injuries. But it just can’t be that way. The phase was tough and support from my family (in-laws, wife, mom dad, sister) and well wishers kept me motivated. The day I got back to the field, I stayed the happiest.

Were you a bit low on confidence when you made your comeback?

 Not really. A footballer, or to be more precise, a goalkeeper can never be low on confidence. There was absolutely no pressure or tension. I just wanted to play again. I was desperate.

Describe the phase you have been with the National Team?

 The pride stays the same; the commitment stays the same. Some faces stay the same while some stay new. It’s a matter of pride for anyone to be in the National Team. You are there in the National Team because you have excelled.

 But for me, the psyche has changed. When I joined, I was a junior player. And though, I still consider myself a junior, my Coach calls me a Senior. I don’t know how to react. (smiles again).

What does it mean?

 It means more responsibility. It also means setting an example for others. Being a part of the team for some time now and with so many fresh faces in the team, I can never set a bad precedent for the new players.

In fact, it’s not just me. All of a sudden, all the juniors of yesterday have turned into ‘Senior’ players. I love to go back to the day when I first joined the National Camp when a pat from the Seniors made feel so comfortable. We make it a point to make every new player a part of the group so that he never feels left out.

Do FIFA Rankings flatter to deceive?

 I can tell you we have the potential to be below 100. I need to thank the All India Football Federation for arranging the International Friendly against Singapore. We need to play on all FIFA Dates without fail for the next 18 months. If we play that regularly, I guarantee you, we will surely be below 100 in the FIFA Rankings. We are much better than 168!

What does Wim Koevermans mean to you?

 He’s my Guru. For me, besides my mom and dad, my teacher has always stayed my Guru. It’s not been long that he has taken over the reins. We need to be patient and give him more time to settle down. I wish he stays long in India. The start has been a dream one and the script for the future promises much. But I reiterate we need to be patient.

What do you gauge of Singapore as a team?

 I don’t have much idea of Singapore except for the Video which we were shown in the Team Meeting. All South East Asian Teams are very strong and come hard at you. Singapore will be no different from Thailand and Malaysia. But we go into the match with a lot of confidence. It will be a competitive match for sure.

Wish luck to Subrata Pal and Indian Football Team. Leave a Comment!

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