Mumbai: On October 20, the Indian football team achieved its best FIFA ranking (137) in over six years. The rise was propelled by India’s 4-1 victory over higher ranked Puerto Rico. One of the scorers in the game was Mumbai City FC’s Jackichand Singh, the fast paced winger from Manipur.
In an exclusive interview with this paper, Jackichand, the 2014-15 I-League Player of the Year spoke about Bengaluru FC’s historic journey to the AFC Cup final and playing with former Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan.
Your thoughts on BFC’s journey in the AFC Cup: It’s a great achievement, and I am very happy for them. This is the first time an Indian club has reached so far in the AFC Cup. And also, the national team recently jumped up in the FIFA rankings. This only shows that Indian football is progressing in the right direction.
On scoring your first goal for India: It’s always a great feeling when I pull on the India shirt and turn out for my national team. And a debut goal for your country is obviously a huge moment not just for me but for every professional! It’s one I won’t forget anytime soon.
On Stephen Constantine’s impact on the India team: He’s a great coach. In my international career so far, I’ve only worked under Constantine. He’s someone who always pushes you to do better each time. After missing out on the national team for a couple of international games, I returned to the side recently.
Constantine showed a lot of confidence in me and I can credit him for my recent performance.
On playing with Diego Forlan: It’s been phenomenal. He’s played all around the world in the biggest leagues and not to mention at the World Cup with Uruguay. There’s a lot to learn from him at every step. On the field, he lets his skills do the talking. And playing alongside him is a privilege. He will help you out, point out your mistakes and also give you a solution. The experience has been great and I hope it continues to get better for myself and for the team.
On his positional preference in a team: In the early days, my career started off as a central midfielder. When I made the move to the I-League with Royal Wahingdoh, I switched over to the wings. The position suited me, thanks to my pace and my style of play. I continued playing as a winger or as a striker.