Interview with Renedy Singh: "Playing abroad is a big challenge for any Indian footballer"
Last week, Renedy Singh became the fifth Indian footballer to sign for a foreign club this season. The 35-year old put pen to paper for Bulgarian giants, CSKA Sofia, which would see him stay in the country’s capital till the end of the season.
Singh has represented India 72 times and has scored 12 goals, in the process. He was also part of the 2011 Indian AFC Asian Cup squad that was knocked out in the group stages. The Kerala Blasters midfielder has signed on a loan deal and will return to the south of India, at the end of the season.
Sportskeeda spoke to him about his goals at Sofia, probable coaching future and the future of Indian football.
Q. Most people were unaware of your negotiations with CSKA Sofia, how did the move actually happen?
The move happened after the end of the ISL, when I was taking a break. I was approached by my friends from football about an option to join CSKA Sofia for the rest of the season. After discussing the offer with family and friends, I decided to accept it and come to Sofia.
Q. Not many Indian footballers have made the move to a top tier European club, what are the goals you have set for yourself till the end of the season?
The first thing I have to say is that I am lucky to get this opportunity to play for a club as big as CSKA Sofia. As we all know for any Indian footballer to take up a chance outside of India is a big challenge, so my personal aim is to train well for the first few weeks and then see how it goes. The first few weeks will be most important and that is what I believe in.
Q. Although it’s really early to say, what are the major differences you have seen in terms of infrastructure and training regimes?
The facilities here in Sofia are top class and the training is quite good as well. At this level, the tempo is always high and I need to adjust quickly.
Q. You mentioned earlier that you had coaching aspirations, what are the aspects that you are looking to learn from Coach Stoycho Mladenov?
It is about the experience you gain by training and working under a good coach like Mladenov, then it is important to see and learn rather than only listen to what you should do in training. It’s not only about theory, but about practice on the field.
Q. How do you plan to transition from player to coach, towards the end of your career?
I will have to get my coaching badges first, but this experience here in Sofia is going to help me when I become a coach, most definitely.
Q. Which position does the coach plan to play you in the current CSKA Sofia squad?
I have just been training with the team for three days. I have played in midfield all my career, but it is up to the coach to decide where he wants me to play.
Q. Have you met the squad yet? Players such as Valentin Iliev have been stalwarts of Bulgarian football, what have you learnt from them?
Yes. I have been training with them since Thursday and it has all been positive. I am really enjoying the training.
Q. What are your fitness levels like right now? How soon before you make your debut?
I took a break after the ISL, so the first three weeks will be crucial for me to get back to full match fitness. So, this time will be vital for me.
Q. Amongst the Indian clubs, which club did you like playing for the most?
I enjoyed playing for all my Indian clubs, where the coaches made my life easy and I just had to go out there and play my game.
Q. With the World Cup qualifiers coming up in March against Nepal, what do you think of the Indian team’s chances?
Against Nepal at home in Guwahati we should win, but in the away match in Kathmandu, we should be careful as we have lost there against them, so it will not be easy for us. Good luck to Stephen Constantine and boys.
Q. What are your plans, after the ongoing season with CSKA Sofia ends?
First, I have to do well here at CSKA in the coming months and then get ready for the next ISL. But, again the most important thing is to do well here in Sofia, because I am not too worried about the future as long as I do well in the present.