After stints with Royal Wahingdoh, Shillong Lajong and Bengaluru United, 19-year-old Phrangki Buam is all set to fulfil his Indian Super League (ISL) dream, after the youngster penned a three-year contract with FC Goa.
Buam spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda about his playing journey, his Shillong Lajong days, the Bengaluru United experience, his FC Goa dream, and his favourite goals. Here are the excerpts from the Interview:
Phrangki Buam: a dream fulfilled
Phrangki Buam began from the youth ranks of Royal Wahingdoh and Shillong Lajong. The youngster took us down the memory lane and told us about his journey from a young footballer to a professional:
"My football career started with Sports Authority of India (Shillong) in 2012, where I gave trials for the U-14 team at the age of 11. I stayed with them until 2015. In 2015, I joined Royal Wahingdoh FC was there for 2 seasons. In 2017, I joined Shillong Lajong, won a lot of trophies, scored goals, and experienced a relegation in my 3 years between 2017 and 2020."
Shillong Lajong have been part of the I-League since the 2009-10 season. However, the Reds were relegated in the 2018-19 edition after finishing bottom of the league. Phrangki Buam tells about his experience of facing relegation as a young player:
"The experience is never good, but looking back at it, I found that it was an experience that has spurred me on. It was a bad season for us, that too in my debut season in the I-League. It hit me personally. It told me that I had to get a lot better, and that’s what I have been trying to do these past few seasons."
However, Phrangki Buam never backed down from playing and has been consistently been part of the Shillong Premier League, Meghalaya state League, the I-League 2nd Division, and RFYS Tournaments. He said:
"I've been playing the Shillong Premier League, the Meghalaya State League, the tournament organised by the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports, and the 2nd Division League."
Phrangki Buam played for FC Bengaluru United in the 2019-20 I-League 2nd Division, before the league was terminated due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Speaking on the experience of playing outside his state for the first time, he said:
"I had a great experience with FC Bengaluru United. It was the first club that I played for outside Meghalaya, even if it was just for a few months. I learnt a lot from Coach Richard Hood and coach Gauromangi Singh. So, it was a fruitful experience for me."
Phrangki Buam explained the differences between FC Bengaluru United and Shillong Lajong. He said:
"There's a lot of difference between FC Bengaluru United and Shillong Lajong FC. The place, the mindset and the coaches were different, so it was bound to be different."
Phrangki Buam wished FC Bengaluru United all the very best for their upcoming I-League qualifiers which is to be held in Kolkata from 8th October. He said:
"Yes, I'm in touch with some of my teammates. I just want to wish FC Bengaluru United all the best for the upcoming I-League 2nd Division final round and I hope that they will qualify for the I-League."
FC Goa is studded with Indian and International stars like Lenny Rodrigues, Edu Bedia, Igor Angulo, Alberto Noguera, Jorge Ortiz, Brandon Fernandes and Len Doungel on the attacking front. Phrangki Buam has to work harder than usual to break into the first team.
He shares his thoughts on his chances in the FC Goa first team:
"Yes, there're a lot of big Indian and foreign names, and that was one big reason I am here. The club believes that I can be amongst them in the times to come. I believe that I have a lot of room for improvement, and this is the best place to do so."
"However, I don’t want to get myself muddled in those expectations. I just want to keep working hard and improve with every training session. I am looking to give my best and get into the first team. I want to show what I am capable of, for that, I have to first impress in training and then in any minute I get on the pitch."
FC Goa's upcoming maiden AFC Champions League appearance was a key factor in Phrangki Buam's decision to prefer the Gaurs over other ISL teams. He said:
"Since the very beginning of the ISL, I have always admired FC Goa. This is like my dream come true; to play with one of the best clubs in India. We will also be playing in the AFC Champions League, that was another motivation. My career, though, is just starting and I feel this is where I will get the best opportunity to improve and show my talent."
Phrangki Buam expressed excitement on his maiden ISL campaign. He said:
'I'm very excited to play in the Indian Super League for the first time and I can't wait for the season to start.'
Phrangki Buam has scored 8 goals in the I-League and I-League 2nd division. He has scored countless other goals in the AIFF Youth Leagues, State and City Leagues and RFYS tournaments. When asked about his favourite goal, he said:
"The most memorable goal that I've scored so far in my playing career is against the Minerva Punjab in the U-15 Nike Premier Cup Final in Goa. In my senior career, I would name the goal against the Minerva Punjab in the I-League 2018-19 in Shillong."