Why Komal Thatal didn't play in the last two games of the FIFA U17 World Cup
Komal Thatal had captured the imagination of the Indian footballing fraternity with his display against the USA in the very first game for the Blue Colts. His nimble footedness didn't always get the better of Jaylin Lindsey, but one the few occasions he did, the results left the Indian fans in awe - although the end product was missing.
The man from Sikkim would, however, see his last action in that very game as Indian coach Luis Norton de Matos opted to not play the blonde-headed winger in the next two games - which took many by surprise.
When asked about the decision, DeMatos got a bit irritated and stated that it was a purely tactical decision.
Talking to the media after India's last game of the campaign - where they lost 0-4 to group-toppers Ghana, Matos quipped, "First thing I always say is that I don't talk about individuals. However, if you think Komal (Thatal) would do well against 5'10", 5'11" defenders of Colombia and Ghana, then you would be a very good coach.
"The reality is that we are far behind in quality of such teams, hence we need to play an organised system."
The eyes of the whole Indian footballing fraternity has been on the FIFA U17 World Cup of late and Thatal had caught the imagination of the country after creating a few moments of magic on the left wing.
However, what was evident was Lindsey - on most of the occasions - was too good for Thatal and his lack of sheer pace and physicality led to Matos dropping him from the side. Whilst the U17 World Cup has been a humbling experience for the Indian team, these are the experience and yardsticks that will help Indian football grow in the coming days.
Whilst Thatal has been a standout for India in this age group - having scored the most number of goals for the county at this level - this has been a huge learning experience for not only Thatal but also most of the Indian youngsters.
The road has been tough but the future can only get better.