Mumbai: India footballer Eugeneson Lyngdoh earned crores, won hearts on debut for FC Pune City in Indian Super League (ISL). The 29-year-old feels rubbing shoulders with different players in the league made him a better person and a sportsman.
Exactly a year ago, Lyngdoh was picked up by the Pune franchise for Rs 1.05 crore — quite a sum for an engineering dropout. He scored, assisted twice in 10 appearances and now, waiting for Antonio Lopez Habas’ instructions – the new manager.
“Every year, a player improvises under new people. These things are helping me to be a better person and a player. There will be new ideas from our new manager. Whatever little I gain from him, I can implement them when I turn out for our national team as well,” says Lyngdoh, who isn’t bothered about the gradual retreat of superstars like Nicolas Anelka and Roberto Carlos.
“I think younger players are coming into the league which is a good sign. It will be more competitive. But as far as playing is concerned, we do learn a lot playing against legends. They take the level a notch higher,” he added.
Indian players like Gurpreet Singh Sandhu are plying their trade in Europe. The goalkeeper — who also plays for Norwegian Tippeligaen club Stabæk — is the first Indian to play in UEFA Europa League. But Lyngdoh’s priorities lie with India.
“I wish I could play for foreign clubs too but then, I want to concentrate on the national team now. I am looking forward to the Asian qualifiers,” asserted Lyngdoh, who is still looking for his first goal for India.
However, Lyngdoh also spared a thought for Argentina star Lionel Messi who announced retirement from international football after losing the Copa America final to Chile (4-2 on penalties).
“The World Cup is in two years time, I don’t think he will actually retire. He will be back. I think his decision was a result of emotional breakdown,” said Lyngdoh, who also lauded Portugal for clinching the European Championship.
“It was not only about Cristiano Ronaldo, it was an all-round effort. They stuck to the game plan which worked at the end of the day,” he added....