Mumbai: Mumbai City FC striker, Pranjal Bhumij, has his eyes set on leading India into the FIFA World Cup. Born in Assam, the versatile and extremely talented 20-year-old is considered as one of the players to look forward to in the future. Although primarily playing the role of a striker, Bhumij can also play on either side of the wings as well as an attacking midfielder.
Pranjal started his football career in Assam, playing for SAI Guwahati. His performance with the club soon attracted eyes towards him and the Pune based I-League team ‘DSK Shivajians’ roped him in for their under-18 side in 2016. He made his professional debut for the senior squad in 2017 in I-League. Then, in 2017, he received his break when he signed for Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League. In the same year, he also received the call-up for India’s U-19 team in the SAFF U-19 Championship. He made his international debut against Nepal.
In an exclusive interview, the youngster talks about his experience with senior players, his wonder-goal against Kerala Blasters FC and his journey.
Q. How has been your experience of playing with senior players of Mumbai City FC?
A. I don’t have much experience, so I am getting a lot of experience playing with such senior players as well as the coach. The big players teach me a lot. I also learned a lot from my last coach. I am gaining a new experience each time.
Q. Your goal against Kerala Blasters FC last year was one of the most talked-about things during the season and it was also one of the best goals of the season. How did you feel after hitting such a wonderful goal?
A. It was a very important goal not just for me but for the team as well. I tried to do something for the team and hence I hit that goal. I was not that excited due to the quality of the goal, I wanted the team to win or bring home at least a point.
Q. Your celebration after scoring the goal was also quite good. You made quite an impression and keeping everyone quiet.
A. It came in my mind at that moment itself. There were so many spectators, plus they thought they were winning and began making fun of us. It was their home and they had a lot of supporters. So scoring a goal over there was very difficult. Even I don’t know how that idea of celebration came in my mind.
Q. What is your goal with regards to Indian football?
A. I want to get into the senior team of India. I want to try to play in the FIFA World Cup with the squad. Just like other countries I want India to play the World Cup as well.
Q. How has your journey been from Assam to DSK Shivajians to Mumbai City FC now?
A. My journey was very hard. Earlier I had no idea about any of this. I am from Assam and in Assam, there are no special facilities like the ones I received when I got to DSK and now in Mumbai City. Now everything is good ever since I came in the professional league. Earlier the situation was very bad. I didn’t even know what used to happen in professional football. There are still a lot more things that I’ll get to learn.
Q. You can play as a striker, left and right-winger as well as an attacking midfielder. How do you manage to be so versatile?
A. Earlier, I used to play as an attacking midfielder when I was in Assam. Later, when I came to DSK, the coach used to play me in different positions. So because of that, I am comfortable playing in those positions....