‘Youngsters should learn from Chhetri’

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Express News Service

KOCHI: After a hugely successful playing career, former India international Gouramangi Singh has been busy honing his skills as a coach. As the head of FC Bengaluru United, the 35-year-old has already helped the team lift the BDFA Super Division League title. Once he was the backbone of the Indian defence as he made over 70 appearances for the national team and won silverware like the SAFF Cup and Nehru Cup besides being a serial winner at the club level.

Reflecting on India’s recent campaign in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers where the team finished third and secured qualification for the AFC Asian Cup third round qualifiers, the former I-League champion said that a closer assessment needs to be made. “Realistically, it was tough to be ahead of Qatar or Oman and so we finished third on the table which put us through to the qualifiers of the Asian Cup. So the target was achieved. Go a little deeper, the team got seven points. Was it only the seven points that we expected? Was it the only target that we had? With due respect to Afghanistan and Bangladesh, you at least expect to get 12 points,” he said.

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Gouramangi spent most of his time with the national team alongside Sunil Chhetri. Speaking on India’s overreliance on Chhetri, the Imphal native responded with a counter-question. “Is it wrong to rely on Chhetri?” 

Shedding more light on the hotly discussed subject, Gouramangi feels Sunil still has a lot to contribute. “He’s the captain of the team who has scored seventy plus goals for the country. Whether you call it over-reliance on him or not, he is there. It is great for young boys like Suresh Singh and Liston Colaco that someone like Sunil Chhetri is still there in the dr­e­s­sing room.” 

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