In what seemed like a lost cause against the hosts at Patna’s Pataliputra Sports Complex, Dabang Delhi brought Dung Ju Hong on as a late substitute to strengthen their depleted line of raiders. He, thus, became the first foreigner to appear for the franchise this season.
While SportsKeeda had previously reported the case of missing foreigners in the Dabang squad (delay in arrival due to VISA issues), it has remained obstinate and seldom used Hong or either of their other imports.
On being reached out regarding this continued reluctance to use them, Head Coach Honnappa C Gowda said, “We need to field our best 7. The foreigners are good players but for them it’s difficult for them to find a place in the starting line-up. The crux of our team is made of Indian players and we are going to retain that. I am sure it’s a great experience for them but it’s a competitive tournament and we can’t afford to field anything but our best.”
Asked if the Korean raider will be bestowed with regular opportunities in the matches to come, he reluctantly played down the possibility, “See, our 2 raiders – Rohit (Kumar Chaudhary) and Kashi (Kashiling Adake) are doing well. Also Surjeet (Narwal) should be back soon. So it’s highly unlikely that we will play him again.”
Another recruit, Jay Bahadur from Nepal was hopeful though about getting to step on court sometime soon, “We have been practicing with the team since the start of last month. First the camp in Delhi and then the matches, we have developed by leaps and bounds over this period. The 2 coaches have been monitoring us closely and I am hopeful I will get my chance soon.”
Emphasising on how important it will be for them personally, “If we are selected, people back home will sit up and take notice. Kabaddi as a sport will receive a massive boost and grow enormously that way in Nepal.”
Not that it should hold prime importance in a competitive league, but maybe, just maybe, it might not be a bad idea to field these foreigners once in a while. If not anything else, these sporadic appearances will go a long way in building their confidence and up the interest levels of the league in general globally.Published 04 Aug 2015, 16:21 IST