GUWAHATI, Dec 19: Mumbai City FC Head Coach Alexandre Guimaraies already identified him as the future star of Indian football. Pranjal Bhumij, a member of Mumbai City FC who earlier played for SAI, Guwahati and Gauhati Town Club Academy, in an email interview shared many chapters of his soccer career. Here is the excerpt.
Tell us something about your family
Apart from my parents I have a brother (along with his wife and kid) and a sister. My sister, Lakhimai Bhumij, used to play football as well. She had also represented Assam team in National Championship.
What kind of support you received from your family members to build your career in soccer?
I have been playing football since I was a child. We had a football ground close to our house. My parents were extremely supportive from the very early stage and when I told them I wanted to pursue a career in the game, their support was undeterred. They have backed me in every possible way.
How did you first start playing football and who was your inspiration during your formative years?
My inspiration has been Cristiano Ronaldo and I follow him very closely. My first academy that I played with was AKS Panibil. Then I joined Gauhati Town Club where in fact I was playing under Juliano Fontana who is now on the assistant coach here at Mumbai City.
What was your initial feeling when you were picked by Mumbai City FC during the ISL Draft?
It was indeed a great feeling to be picked by Mumbai City FC in the ISL Draft. There was a familiar face for me in the form of the assistant coach Juliano Fontana. Our head coach is also very fantastic. I got to play in Pune last season and now in the city of Mumbai. In my short time, I’ve had a great experience here at this club. The staff and my teammates are extremely supportive and nice and there’s a lot to learn for me from everyone around me.
Tell us something about your days at SAI Guwahati.
It was a great learning experience for me at SAI where we trained very well. I got a chance to play the youth I League for SAI and they sent us to national camps regularly as well. It was a great exposure and helped me grow.
You also played for DSK Shivajins. When and how did your stint at that club started?
When I was playing the U-18 I League for SAI, we had a game in Kolkata once. DSK Shivajians were in our group as well. Mike Rice, a youth coach at DSK then, came to me and told me that he likes the way I play and offered me a chance to join their club. So eventually, I did join DSK. I was in their academy for the first five-odd months. Coach Dave Rogers then called me up to the senior team soon after and that was a big confidence boost for me. I got a chance to play in the DSK Cup and the Federation Cup with the senior side. The coach brought me in for a few senior I League games too while I was also playing the U-18 I League.
How is your equation with present coach Alexandre Guimarães? Is he a very strict person?
He’s a great coach and a wonderful human being too. His efforts in improving the players are immense. For a young player like myself, there is an abundance of knowledge that I can learn from him and I consider myself lucky to have such a good figure to learn from so early in my career.
Have you set any goal for this season?
For my team, the only target is to win. If I can chip in with some goals and contribute to it, nothing else would make me happy. I will keep giving my 100% on the training pitch and in the games whenever called upon.
What is your ultimate football goal?
Career goals? It’s to play for the senior Indian National Team. I feel that is every footballer’s dream to represent his country and me too have same dream.