An Indian footballer dreaming of getting something substantial in life. An Indian footballer trying to achieve no fellow countrymen could. An Indian footballer trying to become the first ever to play a competitive match for a top-division European club. The only answer an Indian could imagine, “Only in your dreams.” Well, think again!
Well, think again!
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was born in Mohali, India, part of the Chandigarh tri-city. He took up the beautiful game at the age of 8 and joined the St. Stephen’s Academy in 2000. After good performances at his academy, Gurpreet was selected for his state youth team, the Punjab U16s. He made his youth state level debut in 2006 in Haldwani and thus the professional story begins.
Gurpreet had an exclusive interview with Sports-nova where he opened up about his plans regarding his future in Europe. “I would hope to get an opportunity to stay in Europe after my contract ends with Stabaek FC at the end of this season.” he said.
Although he has been frustrated with the lack of games at Stabaek FC ever since his move, he believes that his serious injury in the middle of the season automated his masticated progression. He remarked, “I don’t think I was ready in the years of 2014 and 2015 but in 2016 I felt I was ready and I did get my break but I was unfortunate with a serious injury in the middle of the season.”
“On the other hand, thats what a goalkeepers life is like in Europe as you have to be patient because there’s a big difference between a keeper and an outfield player.”
Bob Bradley managed Stabaek FC in the 2014-15 season, right after Gurpreet’s move to Norway and he believes that he is the best manager he has played for. He said, “I think he is the best football coach I have worked under in my career so far.”
Later when asked about his thoughts on why Bradley failed miserably at Swansea after being sacked within 85 days of his appointment, he said, “On what happened with him at Swansea is something different as he got there in the middle of the season when Swansea were already not playing well and to be honest it takes time for a team to setup and understand how the coach wants you to play. I wish him good luck for the future.”
Well, you cannot actually leave an Indian footballer without asking him about the growth of Indian football. When asked about India’s rapid rise in the rankings in the past couple of years and does he think Indian football is actually improving or it is just a hoax, he reassured, “It is obviously improving day by day in some way shape or form but has it been enough? I don’t think so. Still, a long way to go.”
Let’s just hope as a spectator we get to witness more Indians following the footsteps of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. It ain’t a hard ask, but as we all know a lot deeper and crisper level of grassroot pre-requisite tools and measures are required. Maybe, the time isn’t ready yet or perhaps we can just wait for some miracle to ensue because at the end of the day Life is what you make it, as Gurpreet himself happens to be one such miracle.
With Stabaek FC playing later tonight against Rosenborg, it is yet to be seen whether Gurpreet can keep off Sayouba Mandé from between the sticks for the remainder of the season. But, a fact remains that Stabaek has lost only once when Gurpreet has been fielded. Although Stabaek FC are third in the league table, a win tonight can move them to second place.
Do you think Indian football is ready to get another Gurpreet Singh Sandhu? Comment below.