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Vignesh Dakshinamurthy: The tale of the only ISL 2019-20 player from Bengaluru

  • Vignesh created history by becoming the only ISL player in 2019-20 to hail from Bengaluru..
  • Vignesh was signed by Mumbai City FC in 2018 from Ozone FC after impressing in the I-League second division.
Modified 26 Apr 2020, 15:55 IST

Vignesh (R) was the only ISL player in the 2019-20 season from Bengaluru
Vignesh (R) was the only ISL player in the 2019-20 season from Bengaluru

A few years ago, in the lush green surroundings of Bengaluru, a precocious youngster was making waves, plying his trade for the Ozone FC youth system. A little later, that very greenhorn started establishing himself in the senior footballing landscape and became an integral part as the club locked horns with some of the nation’s finest sides in the I-League second division.

Unsurprisingly, the excellent performances didn’t go unnoticed, meaning that he was snapped up by ISL side, Mumbai City FC in 2018. And, in a matter of a few years, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy had carved himself a place in the Indian footballing scene.

At present, the midfielder represents the only local player from the footballing hub of Bengaluru to turn out for an ISL outfit. In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, the Indian shed light on that particular aspect, while also emphasizing how privileged he considered himself to be sharing the field with the country’s elite.

“I don’t think about that [being the only player from Bengaluru in the ISL] to be very honest. I know there is talent in Bengaluru and it is just that they haven’t got the chance to prove themselves. Thus, I just consider myself lucky to have got this opportunity to play in a league like the ISL and I want to make the most of it,” Vignesh told Sportskeeda.

Since being acquired by the Islanders, the midfielder hasn’t particularly enjoyed the rub of the green as far as appearances are concerned. However, despite not featuring regularly, Vignesh was all praise for the coaches at Mumbai City FC and in particular, Jorge Costa, who recently parted ways with the club.

“Mumbai City FC is a great club that gives opportunities to its younger players to prove themselves. It has been a wonderful experience. When Jorge Costa was manager, I learnt a lot of things from him like aggression, quick thinking etc. I am looking forward to the next season and am waiting eagerly to learn new qualities from whoever comes in as the new head coach,” Vignesh added.
Vignesh signed for Mumbai City FC in 2018 (Image courtesy: ISL)
Vignesh signed for Mumbai City FC in 2018 (Image courtesy: ISL)

For the club though, the latter stages of the 2019-20 season of the ISL didn’t quite go according to script. Despite finding themselves in the top four for large stretches of the campaign, they succumbed to Chennaiyin FC in a must-win fixture, meaning that the Marina Machans enrolled themselves for the final four.

Inevitably, the club and its players felt shattered, with Vignesh also echoing similar sentiments. However, the midfielder emphasized the importance of taking such situations in one’s stride and learning from it, rather than getting completely deflated.

“The loss [against Chennaiyin FC] was very hard to take. But, there were a lot of things we learnt and understood that we don’t have to repeat. It is all a learning curve and we need to take as many positives from it as we can, getting stronger day by day in the process,” he elaborated.

A couple of years ago, the Indian midfielder was called up to the national squad during the SAFF Championship, wherein he made his bow against Maldives in a 2-0 victory for the Blue Tigers. Reminiscing that appearance, Vignesh candidly opened up on that moment, explaining,

“To be completely honest, I was very nervous. Because when you represent the country, you are basically representing 1.3 billion people. And, that isn’t easy as most people are not fortunate enough to get that chance. But, the most important takeaway from that experience was that I needed to keep improving at every stage and not let my guard down due to the immense competition to play at the highest level,” Vignesh said.

'Never stop learning'

In fact, for a 22-year-old, Vignesh showcases an enormous amount of maturity, not just on the football pitch but even off it. Consequently, he hasn’t allowed the gloom of the lockdown to encapsulate him, instead, utilizing his time to hone his skills on the fitness and of course, the virtual sport front.

“Obviously, these are very tough times for everyone. But, since I am in Mumbai during the ISL, I am feeling very relaxed now that I am at home. My brothers are here as well and my parents. I play FIFA quite a bit with my brothers and I am also learning to cook a little from my mother. However, I am also aware that I can’t lose track of my fitness and I do everything possible to keep myself in shape. I believe we should never stop learning, irrespective of the situation,” Vignesh elaborated. 
Vignesh burst onto the scene with Ozone FC
Vignesh burst onto the scene with Ozone FC

Currently, the entire world, not just Indians, find themselves in a tricky predicament, wherein not many know what lies in store. Yet the best, one can do is to keep oneself occupied and not let the negative thoughts outweigh the productive ones.

And, fortunately for the Indian footballing fraternity, in Vignesh, it has a promising youngster who certainly knows how to tackle the obstacles life has to throw. 

More importantly though, the midfielder appreciates the position he finds himself in rather than taking it for granted. And, that¸ above all, embodies the calm head he has on his shoulders, something that helps one prosper even in the most adverse circumstances.

Published 26 Apr 2020, 15:55 IST
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