Interview of Chennai City FC’s Edwin Sydney Vanspaul
It was 35th minute of the eventful match in Kolkata when Pradeep Mohanraj, Chennai City FC’s Left Back got red carded for a handball inside the box. Having scored the penalty to draw the scoreline 1-1, Mohun Bagan were expected to run through defence of the 10 men Chennai City FC.
Soundarajan, Chennai City FC coach didn’t make a defensive change to replace the sent out left back. Instead stepped in the centre-midfielder Edwin Sydney Vanspaul to guard the left back position. Raising several eye brows, not just he managed to hang on there, rather he actually made life tough for Mohun Bagan attackers. There stood tall the versatile Edwin Sydney Vanspaul. Since then there has been no looking back as he continued to get everyone’s( including the opponents ) applause.
TalkSports 24X7 decided to catch up with this talented player of Chennai and here are few words from the man himself about his inspirational football career.
●TS 24X7: Edwin, When did football enter your life ?
●Edwin: My father was a hockey player. They used to train one or the other game each day. But it was football which attracted me right from the start. I was in my 5th grade then. Since then, I’ve been playing football.
●TS 24X7: When did u start playing professional football?
●Edwin: It was after my 12th public exams. Unfortunately I failed in 2 subjects. I was in home an entire year. My friends were studying in loyala College. Luckily, Indian bank ( Former I-league club ) used to train in the same College. So my friends somehow got me an opportunity to train with Indian bank. Then they signed me for Chennai league.
●TS 24X7: How difficult is it to be a professional footballer in Tamil Nadu ?
●Edwin: Really tough. I didn’t get people to guide me well. Many wanted me to leave football. I went to Pune FC for U19 trials along with Dhanpal Ganesh, he got selected and I was not picked. That failure was bitter. Many had their views, and one thing everyone said in common was that ” You can’t “. ” It’s not happening “. There were many criticisms. People didn’t believe that I could achieve something in Indian football especially with I league starting to slow down after initial few years.
●TS 24X7: How you kept yourself strong inspite of all the wrong talks going around you ?
●Edwin: It was tough. People had their own ideas. Everyone wanted me to get a job and leave football. Many of my friends did exactly the same. Because when you play in Santhosh trophy, you can get a government job. Some bad days made me think ” Shall I just quit?”. But I was strong that no use in so much hardwork if I quit in the middle. I was determined to achieve something special. When I see Ganesh Acha ( Dhanpal Ganesh ) playing in TV, I felt bad about how I could have been there as well if few things went my way. I challenged Ganesh that ” I will be there one day “!
●TS 24X7: How did the journey with Chennai City start ?
●Edwin: Last year, I went for trials with Churchill Brothers. I was selected. They were looking to join I-League and told me the same. But I was worried if they were just telling and what if they dont play I-league. Then I only have to play Goa league and they offered just the same amount I was already getting back in Chennai. But as soon as I left rejecting the offer of Churchill brothers, I got to know that they have got AIFF’s nod to play I-League. I was devasted. I could not go back either. I called Robin Charles Raja to inform him that I might try again in Churchill Brothers. It was then he told Chennai City FC is going to participate in I-League and offered me a 1 week trials and eventually they signed me.
●TS 24X7: How was it to finally play I-League ?
●Edwin: Really great. Especially the match against Mohun Bagan. Mohun Bagan is my favourite club in Indian football. So to play against my favourite club was a great feeling.
●TS 24X7: Tell us about the Finland adventures of yours.
●Edwin: I have to thank our owner Mr. Rohit Ramesh for that. He wanted us to get some good exposure before the 2nd season of our I league journey. There in Finland, it was fantastic. They were perfect. We trained the entire day. Morning training sessions started by 9 and in the afternoon we had to train in gym and again continued with Evening training session. We trained the entire day throughout the training period.
●TS 24X7: Your view about Chennai City’s performance this year and where do you see the team finishing in the table ?
●Edwin: We have played far better than many other teams in the league. Performance wise we were excellent. Results were bit harsh as we deserved to win many of the matches which we drew. But as a team, we are giving our 100 percent. We look for a top 6 finish which is quite possible if also other results go by our way .
●TS 24X7: Have you got any offers from ISL ?
●Edwin: I was informed by the management that I have two offers. But right now, I’m not thinking about those offers. I’m completely into Chennai City FC now and determined to give my best in the next two games. After that, I will see the offers.
Edwin Vanspaul’s story is an inspiration in many ways as if it was not his stubborn nature and love for the game,now he would be sitting in a government office or any other such work in that case.
From failing in 12th to feauture in headlines of all top news portals of the state and the country, he’s the perfect example of what you would need to become what you wish to be. With his lightening feet and an inspirational story to learn from, he sets all the right examples for the younger generation.