Mumbai– Striker Balwant Singh reckons that the Indian football team needs more exposure against strong teams in order to improve its standard.
India had attained their highest position (96th) in the FIFA rankings earlier this year but at the year-end they have dropped to the 105th spot.
“Everyone is doing their work — from the coaching staff to all the players. Hopefully, we’ll get good results. We should play more international matches against the good teams; it will help us improve,” Balwant told IANS.
“And for the youngsters, they are getting many chances so they should take their chance with both hands and capitalise on it.”
The biggest success story in Indian football of the year was qualifying for the 2019 Asia Cup after missing out on the 2015 edition. They have qualified for the continental showpiece only three times (1964, 1984, 2011).
“We are happy to qualify for Asian cup 2019 and hopefully, we’ll get the good result because everyone is working hard and every one motivates each other,” the former Mohun Bagan ace, who made his international debut in 2014, added.
The Punjab-born striker also praised his former club and said the Kolkata football giants is very close to his heart.
“Yes!!! Mohun Bagan is very close to my heart as I have played for three long years in that club and I have great memories of my career there. There is no big reason behind choosing the ISL to play; I just wanted to play here,” he said.
Balwant was roped in by Mohun Bagan for the 2014-15 season on a one-year deal. He was then loaned out to Indian Super League franchise Chennaiyin for the inaugural season and then retained in 2015 edition on loan.
When asked about the difference in playing with Mohun Bagan and then playing with Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC (current ISL club), Balwant said that each club has different fans, but playing with Bagan is experience in itself.
“Each club is different. Their fans are different. Playing with Bagan was an experience in itself but that doesn’t make it any easier when I’ve played with other teams. My only aim has been performing well for whichever team I’ve played for,” he said.
Balwant singled out the goal which he scored on his debut against Mauritius was his most memorable one.
“For country, when I scored my first senior national game against Mauritius. It was a memorable moment as I was wearing the blue Indian jersey.
“For club, it’ll be hard to single out but there have been many with the likes of Churchill brothers, Mohan Bagan, and I scored against East Bengal twice,” he added. (IANS)