|The Three Musketeers — (from left) Balwant Singh, Subrata Paul and Denzil Franco|
“I’ve heard a lot about the crowd in Siliguri. I urge them to come out in numbers and root for us. Palestine are the current AFC Challenge Cup Champions and we are in for a tough match. This is the festive season in Bengal and there’s no better way to mix it with an International Football match,” he quipped.
“We have had fruitful sessions at the Training Camp in Goa and the Team is shaping up well. We intend to carry on the momentum of the practice sessions onto the ground,” he added.
Defender Denzil Franco, standing next, nodded. “In our last match against Palestine, we were much better in the first half and led 2-1 at the interval. But after the changeover, some silly mistakes cost us dear. We need to avoid such errors against them in Siliguri,” Denzil mentioned.
When being reminded that he stays the most experienced among the defenders in the present 20-member squad, he smiles. “Defending is all about an individual. Rather, it’s all about Teamwork. In fact, that’s what defines Football. You win together, you lose together. I am not sure whether I will play or not, but whoever plays, we need to work together to keep them at bay. And it’s not solely about the defenders – it applies to everyone and we follow it at every step,” he quips; only to add: “…both on and off the field.” “The Coach has taken us through video sessions and explained us the manner of their play. But all of that has to be implemented on the field. Otherwise, it just gets defeated.”
Striker Balwant Singh who has made it a habit of scoring in every domestic match states that he is “ready for the challenge.” “Scoring makes a Striker confident. I am a much more confident Player now. The more you play, the more opportunities you get to score. And as a Striker, I aim at taking them regularly,” he pronounces.
“International Football is obviously tougher. But I have a lot of Senior Pros guiding me and the Coach always keeps mentioning and trying to upgrade me as a Player.”