FIFA U17 World Cup: India coach explains real reason behind goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem's meteoric rise
India put up another fighting performance in their second group game against Colombia yesterday and kept the scoreline 0-0 for nearly 50 minutes before defender Juan Penaloza struck to give Colombia the lead. However, India scored their first goal of the tournament thanks to Jeakson Singh Thounaojam to stay in the match before moments later, Penaloza scored his second of the match to win it for Colombia.
India currently still have an opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Ghana by at least five goals and the USA beat Colombia. Despite India losing, this was another very good performance from the lads. There were several scoring opportunities for India this time and the defence was even better than last time with Anwar Ali making some crucial tackles and interceptions.
However, the stand out player for India last night was their goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem who produced a string of brilliant saves to deny the Colombians from scoring time and again. Indian coach Luis Norton de Matos was all-praise for Dheeraj and stated that the U-17 team’s goalkeeping coach Paulo Grilo deserves a lot of credit for Dheeraj’s performances.
“At that point, it was very important to bring in a top goalkeeper coach, and I brought in a top goalkeeper coach (Grilo),” mentioned the Portuguese. “We managed to get him for just one month, and it is incredible the work he was able to achieve with the three goalkeepers. And now it becomes very difficult, because it is a question of position, how you control the space on the ball today, in football, everything must be very professional.”
“The nutrition, the prevention of injuries, the recovery, (physical training) training, mental (training), everything is different. And we are lucky to have Paulo Grilo helped us a lot to improve the quality of the player,” added de Matos
Grilo was coaching the Philadelphia Union team of the MLS when de Matos proposed AIFF to hire him and he had also worked with the B team of Orlando City previously.
India’s goalie Dheeraj is currently probably the best player in the team and has been in very good form throughout the FIFA U17 World Cup so far. Provided he keeps on maintaining his good form, he could well be somebody to watch out for when he plays for the senior team.