In conversation with Amarjit Singh Kiyam: India's U-17 football captain
The Indian U-17 football team will become the first side from the country to participate in a World Cup at any level and the side’s preparation are in full swing. At the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday, they defeated the Sports Authority of India’s U-16 side by a 2-1 scoreline in a dominant display. After exposure trips to Germany and Spain, our Little Blue Tigers will now be leaving for a tour of South Africa on Friday, where they will face off against youth teams from the nation’s biggest clubs.
In their win against SAI U-16, the Indian side hit the woodwork multiple times and missed a few golden opportunities in the second half to put the game to bed. Central midfielder and captain Amarjit Singh led by example as he made a virtuoso display, passing the ball well and winning it back in midfield multiple times.
He spoke to Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview after the game and gave us his thoughts on leaving home for Chandigarh, the team’s foreign tours and his favourite player!
Q – Hi Amarjit, congratulations on the win. How would you rate this performance? Is 2-1 a satisfying scoreline for you?
A – Thank you! We played well today and it is always good to win. But I feel that the team could have done better and we should have scored more goals. We hit the woodwork quite a few times, due to which my team lost some confidence and was unable to play as well as it could. We had some chances in the end as well that we should have converted but I’m glad we defended well and created many opportunities.
Q – Please tell us about yourself. How did you start playing football and when did you get picked up by the national side?
A – I was born and brought up in Manipur, where my uncle introduced me to the game. I played for a local side and my school team as well. My coaches then decided to send me to Chandigarh, where I trained at the Chandigarh Football Academy (CFA) and played for their side while doing my schooling at Sector 36 Govt Model School. When the Indian team for the U-17 World Cup was being formed, I gave the trials and the coaches liked me immediately, and I have been training with them since.
Q – What are your thoughts on training under Nicolai Adam and playing teams abroad? How different is it from what you were used in Manipur and Chandigarh?
A – (laughs) The difference is very huge! Going to countries such as Germany and Spain, and playing with the teams over there has really opened up my eyes and the entire team’s as well. Nicolai Sir is amazing and I feel privileged to train under him. The entire journey so far has been amazing and we want to make the most of it by putting a great show at the World Cup next year.
Q – Which team in Europe do you support? Who is your footballing idol?
A – (with a beaming smile) Barca! I admire the way they play and their beautiful passing game. My favourite player is Andres Iniesta and I try to learn as much as possible watching him play and apply it on the pitch myself. After Iniesta, my favourite player of all time is Baichung Bhutia!