At 22, Bidyananda Singh Singh has a lot of expectations on him. Having been scouted previously by FC Barcelona and Manchester United, Bidyananda Singh has become an integral part of the Mumbai City FC squad in the Indian Super League.
Speaking to Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview, Bidyananda Singh Singh went on to state that he was prepared to give it his all in the upcoming season of the tournament.
You came through the junior levels of football and you were discovered by SAI when you were 11. How has the journey been so far?
Bidyananda Singh: I went to SAI after playing for India at the U-13 level. I was still at home after playing for India, and things like timely meals were not possible. So after I joined SAI, I learned how a professional footballer does things, how to conduct yourself, what to do at what time, things like that. I was at SAI for a year, from the ages of 13 to 14. I then joined the AIFF regional academy in Mumbai, which was started around that time.
Can you speak a little bit about Barcelona scouting you, and your experience with Qatar?
Bidyananda Singh: Yes, after the move to Mumbai, we got the news that four or five other players were going to go to Qatar to play (at the Aspire academy), and they hadn’t told us the names at that time. We got to know later, and yes, it was a good experience because I got a lot of exposure. It was a one-week football camp. It was great because there were coaches from clubs like Barcelona, Inter Milan, and (Manchester) United, and we got to train according to their respective philosophies. So it was a very new experience. After the camp ended, I was selected as the MVP (Most Valuable Player) by the coaches.
Last season you played a few games, and I was watching the goal you scored as well. How was the experience of playing alongside big names like Amrinder Singh, Rowlin Borges, and the overseas players? What have you learned from them?
Bidyananda Singh: Yes, I got to learn a lot. After being injured for two years, I came back into the team and everyone was very supportive and helpful. In training, outside training, I was motivated by everyone. Even though it was hard for me initially, they just kept telling me to work hard and wait for my chance and never let me get down. So it was great.
I was watching the video of you scoring the goal, and after you did, the fans went crazy. How important are the fans to the club? And now that you’re going to be playing behind closed doors, do you think there’s going to be any difference in the way things are going to be on the pitch?
Bidyananda Singh: It won’t feel good playing without the fans, of course, but that doesn’t mean that we stop giving our 100% on the pitch for ourselves, for the team, and them.
Obviously, the COVID pandemic has had an impact on a lot of things. How stressful or strict are the COVID protocols, and is it affecting how things are happening on the field in any way?
Bidyananda Singh: Yes, there is stress, we are all still in quarantine. But we’re still trying to keep fit in whatever way we can by following the fitness programs the club keeps sending us. Soon, training will also reduce. Yes, there will be a difference but we’re still trying to do everything at our end to maintain our fitness. I will keep trying to remain fit and help the team get better.
The club is doing everything they can from their end to provide the players with whatever they need, be it fitness programs or equipment. The club is sparing no efforts to help everyone in the unique situation that we find ourselves in.
Are you looking forward to the pre-season training since it will be a step-up from the fitness exercises you have been doing while in quarantine?
Bidyananda Singh: It’s almost been seven to eight months without proper training, even though we are training at home at the minute. We are all very excited to be back on the ground together as soon as possible.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season in terms of game time and playing as many minutes as possible?
Bidyananda Singh: I will do everything I can from my end to make sure I give a good account of myself, the rest, of course, depends on the coach. From my end, I will give 100% on the pitch.
What are some of the things that you like to do outside of training?
Bidyananda Singh: I like to play badminton during the offseason whenever I am at home. But this offseason was slightly different! I started playing table tennis as well after my training.