• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024


Pratyusha  Mukherjee talked to the Indian Army Football Team’s  senior player Nongmeikapam Suresh Meitei.Meitei hails from Manipur and plays in defence.
Q : Suresh, you belong to Manipur, a remote place of North East, joined the Indian Football , now a part of Indian Army -say something about your journey?
A : I belong to poor family from a village called Pukhao Khabam of Manipur. I was at the Betul Academy of MP, but due to financial problem it required a safe financial back up i.e a Government job.
So I decided to join the Army.
Q : In recent days, we see that many aspiring footballers from Northeast are playing ISL for East Bengal ,Mohun Bagan and other big clubs.Don’t you think that the Sports Ministry should give more attention in developing infrastructure in NE for over all development of football in the country?
A : Everybody knows that North East is the power house of sports. So,government should have given  more attention to NE and I believe a lot is being done now.
Q : Who inspired you to play football? Tell me something about your childhood memories ?
A : Cristiano Ronaldo inspired me to play Football.
Q: Army Team have been playing attacking football in the on going Kolkata Football League.We noticed so much enthusiasm and zeal amongst your team mates there.Coaches Like Antony Ramesh, Sudhir Mishra, Rabikant Singh and Kazi Zaman are doing a great job. As a senior player how do you assess their contribution ?
A: They all are very hard working   and sincere persons  and always guide us to be  good footballers and  also good human.
Q : Now tell me about your team’s prospect in the days ahead?
A : We have a winning attitude which is a  team’s potential. Football is a team game . Without everyone’s support,  we don’t succeed.
Q : Do you get adequate help from the Army Service Sports Control  Board and what about their infrastructure?
A : ASCB is  one of the biggest sports associations in India.It produces so many National and  International players and Olympians. They have sufficient infrastructure for every game.
Q : A prestigious tournament like Durand encourages young players to a great extent, Do you agree?
A : Yes of course.
Q : What are  your future plans?
A : To become a big professional player.
Q : Any passion do you have except football?
A : I  want to run a Football academy.
Q: Now tell me about your team’s prospect in the ongoing  Durand Cup?
A: We will give our best for maintaining  the  standard and  good reputation of Indian Army .
Q: As far as I know, you haven’t  joined  any Indian National Team camp so far.
If you get a chance in near future will you go?
A: Yes,  surely.
Q: Motion and fitness are  the key factors of your team.Do you agree?
A: We don’t have more professional players in our team like big clubs and hence  fitness and motion are only the strong points of our team.
Q: A prestigious tournament like Durand encourages young players to a great extent.Do you agree?
A: We don’t play big tournaments like ISL and I league,  so Durand Cup is the only  big tournament for us.
Q: Northeast states are also organizing the Durand Cup now, how do you feel?
A: North East is the main base of Indian football, so I’m very happy that the big tournament like Durand is now being  organized in North East, which  is a good indication for future prospect of NE  and the local  players.

Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee

(Author is a Sr.Journalist based in Kolkata with 20 years of experience in covering the east and northeast, with specialisation in Defence and Sports.In her illustrated career she has covered many major events and achieved International and National media awards for Journalism).

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