New Delhi: India U-17 captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam was taken by surprise on being chosen by his team-mates to lead the nation in the upcoming World Cup.
“I was very much surprised when the coach told me that I was the captain of the team. It was an amazing feeling for me. But at the end of the day we play as a team, we win as a team and we lose as a team. Individuality matters little,” said Amarjit in an interaction with the Press Trust of India on Friday.
Interestingly, coach Luis Norton de Matos in a bid to uphold the unity of team had asked his young boys to pick a captain of their choice. Midfielder Amarjit got the highest number of votes, followed by Jitendra Singh and Suresh Singh Wangjam who had led the team in the AFC U-16 Championships and BRICS Cup 2016 held in India.
The new captain echoed the same words, “unity is the strength of this team.”
It has been nothing short of a fairy-tale for the boy from the Haokha Mamang village of Manipur’s Thoubal district to become a footballer. Father Chandramani Singh Kiyam who is a farmer and mother Ashangbi Devi — who sells fish everyday at the state capital in Imphal, which is 25 km from their home, had to toil hard to run their family but at the same time managed to save some money from their low-income to support their son’s passion.
“My father is a farmer and during the off-season, he works as a carpenter but he never asked me to join him. He encouraged me to play football and follow my heart’s desire,” he said.
Born and brought up in a state that has contributed numerous talents in Indian football, Amarjit has always wanted to play for his country and captaining India in such a big tournament is a dream.
“I used to think that one day I will represent the country and I am here now about to play in the U-17 World Cup. I still cannot believe it because it all feels like a dream,” said a delighted Amarjit.
Talking of his leadership skills the 16-yead-old midfielder said, “I speak when it is needed, I don’t speak unnecessarily. I don’t mince words (when I feel it is necessary). There is no particular philosophy of my captaincy. In fact, I want everyone to be a captain in their own right and dominate their part of the pitch,” clearly showing why it was the right choice to make him the captain.
The World Cup is slated to begin from October 6 and India who will be playing in a World Cup for the very first time are in a tough group that features USA, Colombia and former champions Ghana. But Singh warned that they can should not be taken lightly.
“Every team in the World Cup poses challenges of its own. We respect our opponents and they will be tough competitors. But we will play to win and will fight on the pitch until the end,” the Indian captain concluded.