Bipin Singh braces for maiden Blue Tigers test
By Nilanjan Datta,
AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The morning after scoring the winner of the Hero Indian Super League final, Bipin Singh sits with his boots on, stroking them. Today he has so many. He then wipes them off and with great care, puts them in the bag for his next challenge – the senior men’s national team camp.
The next moment, he takes them out again, to wipe them off, and places them with the greatest care in the bag. They mean his life to him after all.
The love story had started quite early. As a child, Bipin drooled over oversized boots. “I didn’t have any boots to wear. So I used to take any boot that was lying around, wear it myself, and run away to play. They were tall – huge indeed. And it was quite a challenge to fit in. But I succeeded and I ran fast. People laughed but allowed me to wear them. Bipin’s laugh breaks the ceiling.
The only player to score a hat-trick in the Hero Indian Super League 2020-21 loses count the next moment as to how many boots he currently owns. “I have 9 boots,” he quipped. “No, I have 11, I think,” he tries to correct himself. “10 for sure, maybe 12,” he stops.
You understand that this is not a complete stop. The life of the indefatigable Bipin has just started. He was instrumental in the AFC Champions League qualifying race for his club Mumbai City FC, which was followed by the Hero Indian Super League victory. A call for the first time to the national team camp followed.
“I was rejected once for the U-14 national team trials in Goa. I had dreamed of playing for India, but in the end I never made the cut, ”he pauses. “Later, when I saw the junior boys win so many matches against foreign teams and travel all over the place, I felt a little jealous,” he admits.
“I worked really hard for this order. I have no words to thank coach Igor Stimac. I have to repay it, especially as I am extremely grateful to my club coach Sergio Lobera for his confidence in me.
Do you feel a change in yourself since the rejection of the U-14 and now?
You can feel his breath on the phone. “This time I wanted to win everything. I felt I could take the ball and pass everyone and score every time I held it at my feet. Today I understand that it doesn’t happen the same way, ”he laughs again. “The goals are so hard to achieve,” he laughs.
You remind him that he ended up scoring six goals in the Hero ISL. “But this is all a thing of the past. The winner of the final is in the past, just like the treble. This does not guarantee me more goals in the future. But yes, they motivate me – reminding me of my abilities. But my most difficult task is yet to come, ”he said.
“The life of a footballer is not all about goals. You are looking at a goalkeeper. He is so crucial, perhaps the most important player. So you can never measure a player’s abilities by the goals scored, ”says Bipin. “Right now I’m just on the list of probabilities. Let me get into the last 23 and then move on to the next step to the XI. Nothing is guaranteed in life.
Life after Hero ISL’s triumph hasn’t changed a bit for Bipin. “I have received several messages saying that I am a special player. But I am not. Everyone called to the camp is a special player. I’m just another player, and especially a beginner. “
However, he quickly understands the significance of the next friendlies. “Oman and the United Arab Emirates are strong teams. It will be a big test for all of us as well as the camp will be a learning curve for me. As footballers, we learn every step of the way. “
Suresh is from Wangoi, a small village in Manipur. “Suresh (Singh) is also from my village,” he informs. “I had started playing as a left-back. But my coaches changed my position and I continue from my days in Shillong Lajong. I always have great joy in running fast. Even with those oversized boots, I used to walk past everything, ”he laughs.