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Shouvik Ghosh hoping to overcome personal tragedy by winning first cap

One of the two changes that Wim Koevermans made to the India squad for the upcoming international friendly against Yemen in Guwahati in November 14 was the inclusion of the uncapped Shouvik Ghosh in place of East Bengal defender Raju Gaikwad.

Although Ghosh is only 20 and inexperienced, the Pailan Arrows center back certainly has what it takes to play at international level. He played well during India Under-22’s Asian Cup qualifiers in Oman in June-July, and was in the preliminary squad for the Singapore friendly last month.

However, personal tragedy struck Shouvik as his mother passed away, forcing him to miss an I-League game and eventually fail to make the final 20-man squad against Singapore.

But Koevermans kept Shouvik’s progress in mind, and the Pailan Arrows captain is now in contention to win his first international cap.

“I am delighted to be in the final squad and hopefully will get a chance to play. It has been a difficult period for me personally as it was my mother who introduced me to football. I hope I can make my debut and make her proud,” an emotional Shouvik told Sportskeeda.

Shouvik has represented India at the U-19 level, and has been part of the Arrows setup since their first season in the I-League.

However it was last season when he really made his mark as a regular, and then after impressing for the U-22s, got a call-up for the Nehru Cup preparatory camp.

Looking back at his performances for India U-22, Shouvik stated: “The U-22 qualifiers gave me a lot of self-belief because we played against some top opposition and got good results. All of us got a feel of international football so it was a great learning experience.”

Shouvik had offers from some big clubs but remained at Arrows to continue his development, and credits the side’s unbeaten start in the I-League to Australian coach Arthur Papas.

“He is a great coach as he gives us confidence and has full faith in us. He has made us played like a team and that is why we have started well in the I-League,” he said.

What separates Shouvik from many other central defenders in the country is that he is left-footed, but the youngster refused to admit that it would give him an advantage in team selections.

“Yes my preferred foot is left but I try to work on my right foot also. I don’t know (if it’s an advantage to be left-footed), the coach will decide that,” Shouvik said.

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