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Interview of Up-Coming Footballer Kishlay Sajwan

Kishlay Sajwan, one of the most promising upcoming Indian footballer, on whom lies the onus to take Indian football ahead is a 12th standard student at DPS Vasant Kunj, Delhi. Getting a chance to represent India U-13, he took up football seriously after that and went on to bag a training stint with Arsenal Soccer School after getting selected in the TATA Tea Jagoore Soccer Star campaign. The month long training in London had change this young boy and had instill in him the confidence to make it big in football.

In his pursuit for excellence and glory, he works hard and leaves no stone un-turned to learn every tricks and moves of football. His determination and dedication has left him with only football in his mind and he lives football. After a long evening training session, he spoke to Babua Biswas about his football dreams and desires.

Kishlay at the Emirates

Excerpts:
Babua Biswas (BB): Kishlay you being one of the bright future of Indian football, we would like to know more about you, your family and your background.
Kishlay Sajwan: I was born and brought up in Delhi itself. My dad is an inspector with Delhi Police while my Mom is a housewife. I am studying in DPS Vasant Kunj and have just been promoted to 12th standard just a week ago. I have a younger sister and I love my family.

BB: When did you start playing football at all? Have you ever thought of making it big professionally when you started playing?
Kishlay Sajwan: I was just in the third standard when I started playing football. I use to play just for fun but I was very good at it. Never did I imagine at that point of time that I will strive to make a career in football.  Things took a different turn when I got the call for the India U-13 camp and got the chance to represent India. This call up instilled in me the confidence to take up football seriously and make a career out of it. Since then, I had been training hard and trying to make a mark in the Indian football scenario and abroad. I haven’t though anything beyond football after that.

BB:  What inspired you to take up football in this cricket crazy Country when Cricketers are earning huge amount of money and footballers get paltry amount?
Kishlay Sajwan: Yes you are right. We live in a country which has more affinity towards Cricket than any other sports. However I feel there is changes coming and people’s interest building up towards football as well. Moreover when I took up football seriously I never thought of the money aspect involved in it nor do I think it even today. Football is my passion and obsession and it doesn’t matter to me whether the game is the No.1 sport of the country or not. What matters to me is to enjoy the game.

BB: Who do you look up to in the football fraternity?
Kishlay Sajwan:  Cesc Fabregas is my idol. His dedication towards the game and his style of playing is something I really admire. I love his passing ability.

BB: Which football club do you support as a football fan and for which club do you dream to play?
Kishlay Sajwan:  ARSENAL and only ARSENAL. I support them with all my heart and I dream of playing only for Arsenal. I am desperate to make it happen.

BB: Juggling between study and Football would have been rather tough. How did you manage it?
Kishlay Sajwan: Yes you are right; it’s tough but not un-manageable when you have everything scheduled perfectly. You just need to know how to balance things at the right time. And as I started playing from a very young age I was quite good at balancing things. Moreover as my Mom was more concern about my studies she made it a point that I studied at least two hours a day.

BB: How have your school cooperated with your football aspiration?
Kishlay Sajwan:  My School, DPS Vasant Kunj has cooperated with me in every possible way to shape up my football career. They never restricted me promotion even when I had to go for camps during exam times. In return I have received many awards from my school. I am thankful to my school for extending their helping hand whenever required.
BB: Talking about your international exposure you have quite an experience since young age. So how would you rate yourself against players of your same age in India?
Kishlay Sajwan:  I don’t think I am the right person to answer this question. I don’t judge myself. People are there to judge me and comment on me. Moreover I never compare myself with others. I just work hard to improve my game each and every day.

BB: You were selected for TATA Tea Jagore Soccer Star and underwent training in Arsenal Soccer School as well. How has that help you?
Kishlay Sajwan:  Getting selected in TATA Tea Jagore Soccer Star and training in Arsenal Soccer School in London has been a life changing experience for me. Training under the guidance of people like Paul Shipwright has made me look football in a different way. I learn things which I would have never learnt had I not been selected. We got to know where we stood in front of boys from other countries, what and where we lack and where to improve. It help me to mature as a player though it was just a month long training.

BB: Can you tell us more about your training in Arsenal Soccer School?
Kishlay Sajwan: It was just a month long training schedule but it was a trip which I will cherish for the rest of my life. The training we had was just superb. I don’t have words to express how I felt it. As I told you earlier I learn things about football which I had never imagined before training there. The Coaches were thorough professional and they tough us so many things in such a short span of time. Their way of teaching was just amazing and fun. The best part was they made us play the ARSENAL WAY.

With Paul Shipwright, Head Coach, Arsenal Soccer School

BB: Have you undergone any training stint with other foreign clubs or academies?
Kishlay Sajwan:  No I haven’t got such a chance as yet. Training in Arsenal Soccer School had been my only foreign training till now. However I am trying hard to join some academies abroad for better practice and facilities which will ultimately shape up my career.

BB: You will be leaving India shortly for another training stint in Europe. When and for which club/academy are you leaving?
Kishlay Sajwan:  Yes I am trying but nothing has been confirmed as yet. Talks are going on with many academies but I have to think for my parents as well. It has to be a club which my parents can afford but still good enough to attract scouts from big clubs.

BB: Is there anybody or corporate sponsoring your training and travel expenses? If no who is your pillar of support?
Kishlay Sajwan:  No way. Nobody is sponsoring me. I wish I had someone to sponsor me. It’s just because of my Dad’s faith and belief in me that he is spending so much. He wants to see me as a great footballer.

BB: With many young Indians like you going for training abroad, what do you think is the future of Indian football? Can we see you all bringing back the glorious days of Indian Football?
Kishlay Sajwan:  Yes I have heard about many players of my age group going abroad for better training facilities. It’s a good sign but one has to equally work hard with dedication to become a good player. Just the training facilities won’t help. However, I am sure every one of us going abroad is going with a mission and we will live up to people’s expectation and hope to bring back India’s glorious football past.

BB: You play as a central midfielder, left half and left back. Which position do you enjoy the most playing and is most comfortable at?
Kishlay Sajwan:  In an era of total football one has to be good at every position and I enjoy playing in every position with equal ease. However if given a chance to choose my favorite position, I would either choose the left back or the left half.

BB: Your coach Jasmeer Singh, who also trained Sunil Chhetri finds many similarities between you two. Do you think you can follow Chhetri’s footstep?
Kishlay Sajwan:  It’s a great compliment for me if he thinks that way. I am very fortunate to train under him. He is a father figure to me. He has been training me since I took up football and if he thinks that I have similarity with Chhetri and can follow him, I will never let him down.

Practice Makes a Man Perfect

BB: So when do we see you donning the Indian Jersey?
Kishlay Sajwan:  I hope the day comes soon. I practice hard regularly and try to remain fit and strong. Let’s hope for the best.  As on now my target is to get a call for the India U-19 team.

BB: Any specific goals or timeframe you have set for yourself to make it to the professional level?
Kishlay Sajwan:  See when you cross 15, you should be capable enough to play football in a big way. But this is not the case in India as you are not fully developed at 15 and still has lots to learn. However for me, I would like to join a good club or a good academy abroad as soon as possible. I would like to represent the country in another couple of years.

BB: Looking at yr social network profile you seems to be having a huge female fan base at school. Any girlfriend?
Kishlay Sajwan:  (Laughs) No time for Girlfriends. Its football time for me.

BB: Anyway Kishlay, Thanks a lot for speaking to us. I on behalf of sportskeeda wish you a very good luck in your endeavour and hope to see you fulfilling your aspirations.
Kishlay Sajwan:  My pleasure.

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