Hyderabad FC goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh was a part of India's setup right from his U-14 days. After being part of the exposure tours organized by the AIFF and after stints with Sporting Clube de Goa and Minerva Punjab in the I-League, the 23-year-old got his big break when he signed for FC Pune City in the ISL.
Speaking to Sportskeeda in an exclusive interaction, he said,
It's a buildup process. I represented India in U-14, U-16, U-19, Asian Games, and South Asian Games. Whenever I play and represent India, it is a big thing for me or any footballer. For me, definitely it's a good thing for me that I started earlier.
In his first season with FC Pune City, he made only three appearances, playing second fiddle to Vishal Kaith between the sticks. But, the 2018-19 season turned out to be a breakout campaign for Kamaljit. He started fourteen times for the Stallions and made 59 saves, registering the highest save per match ratio.
Snubbed continuously by Stephen Constantine, Kamaljit eventually got his call-up to the national team when Igor Stimac led India in the King's Cup. Although he didn't play a match, Kamaljit was delighted he got a call-up to the senior national team.
Yes, I was hoping to see my name in India's list and was happy with it. It is a dream for every Indian footballer to be a part of the senior national team. That camp made me more confident.
After ten rounds of ISL action, Kamaljit leads the charts in the number of saves made. And, with Hyderabad FC holding a notorious record of allowing the oppositions to take the most number of shots so far, his task has only become more tedious.
It is all about the mindset. Every match, I try to give my 100%. It is my responsibility to make saves and see the ball doesn't cross the goal-line. So, I just try to do my job.
Kamaljit also became the youngest captain in ISL when Phil Brown entrusted him with the armband at the onset of the season. However, the season isn't panning out the way Hyderabad FC would have wanted.
I am just trying to do my job. It is the coach and team's decision. They put the captain's band on my arm. Yes, it is a big responsibility for me. From the starting, we had lots of problems like injuries and suspensions. We couldn't convert our chances and didn't get the results. But, we are trying our best. Let's hope we get a good result in our next game.
When asked about his inspiration, Kamaljit unflinchingly replied with Jamshedpur FC's veteran goalkeeper Subrata Paul. He said,
He has played some good games for India. For me, he is my inspiration because I started playing football after seeing him. And, he hasn't stopped. He is still performing well for his club.
Lying at the bottom of the table with five points from ten matches, Hyderabad FC's target of reaching the playoffs is all but over. Brown has signalled for changes in the transfer window and with a resurgent side, Kamaljit and his team's fortunes could change for the better.Published 31 Dec 2019, 13:02 IST