Sports Football 31 Aug 2016 Always ready for cha ...

Always ready for challenges, says Subrata Paul

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | IRFAN HAJI
Published Aug 31, 2016, 1:25 am IST
Updated Aug 31, 2016, 1:25 am IST
Subrata Paul
 Subrata Paul

Mumbai: Subrata Paul has remained the top choice as India goalkeeper for a bulk of the last decade but he has started losing the slot to Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. However the 29-year-old Arjuna awardee isn’t worried that chief coach Stephen Constantine has started to show more faith in Gurpreet and is up for the challenge.

“We are born with challenges. Someone was no 1 before me and it keeps changing. Nothing remains constant,” he said. “I appreciate Gurpreet for playing abroad (with Norwegian club Stabæk). I also appreciate the coach’s decision, whatever he thinks is right for the team. When I get my chance I will give hundred percent,” he added on the second day of training for the friendly international fixture against Puerto Rico.

Paul praised the progress of the team and felt if they could beat Puerto Rico on Saturday, it would give them a major boost in the rankings. “It is a good opportunity for us to develop rankings and get a good spot in the fixtures for the AFC Challenge Cup next year. It is an important tournament for us as it gives us opportunity to qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup. I appreciate the federation and coach to accept matches against higher ranked team. We need more such matches,” he said.

“The average age of our team is 24-25 and we have a good bunch of talented boys who are 21-22. This batch will prepare for the 2019 Asian Cup. If we stay together we can do well in 2019,” he added.

Paul best known for his heroics in India’s 2009 Nehru Cup win and his displays at the 2011 Asian Cup that earned him the nickname of ‘Spiderman’ received the Arjuna Award on Monday.

Paul recollected his meeting with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi who congratulated him and sought advice to develop sports in the country.

“He congratulated and shared his email id and told me to mail ideas regarding development of football and any other sports. He seemed keen to develop football in the country. I am always ready to do the right things for Indian football,” he added.

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