Quess East Bengal have once again qualified for the semi-finals of the prestigious Durand Cup as they are scheduled to play against Gokulam Kerala FC on 21st August at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan.
TalkSports 24X7 got hold of Bidyashagar Singh, the best finding of Quess East Bengal in this tournament. The 21 year old forward from Manipur is expected to be the ultimate replacement of Jobby Justin as he has scored five goals in his three appearances in the Durand Cup. The East Bengal academy product speaks out up close and personal about his journey from Manipur to the Kolkata giants.
Talk Sports 24X7: You almost single handedly won the last match against Bengaluru FC and helped the team qualify for the semis. What’s your take on it?
• Bidyashagar: First of all, I would like to thank my coaches, the club officials and my team mates for trusting me. Initially we were down by 1-0 in the first-half but after that we bounced back with all determination as our team dominated the second-half and we won the game with 2-1 on the scoreboard. The combined effort, understanding and support of my team mates helped me to score the goals and with that brace we were able to reach the semi finals of the Durand Cup.
Talk Sports 24X7: Tell us about your journey all through the East Bengal academy and finally to the senior squad.
• Bidyashagar: I started playing football from my childhood but I didn’t take it professionally until I met Irom Prameshwori Devi. After meeting her my perception towards football changed completely. I always wanted to play outside Manipur. One day I heard Quess East Bengal FC academy is helding trials for U-18 boys. So I decided to give a trial and luckily got selected for the academy. I debuted for East Bengal in the U-18 I-league and were runners up in that season. I had a good season and was gradually called up for the senior squad last season.
Talk Sports 24X7: You came to the senior team last season, got few caps in the I-League but this season you have started on a different note. What are the reasons behind this transformation?
• Bidyashagar: I think it’s hard work and dedication towards the game that brought me to this level.
Talk Sports 24X7: It’s your first campaign of the prestigious Durand Cup. How has been the tournament so far in your opinion?
• Bidyashagar: Sixteen good competitive teams had been participating in the Durand Cup and it’s one of India’s oldest and most prestigious tournaments. So for me this tournament is very competitive and apt for the pre-season. Each and every team is fighting for the title and we had some good football in this competition.
Talk Sports 24X7: The East Bengal fans are hoping you to become the replacement of Jobby Justin. Do you think the void left by Jobby turned things favorable for you?
• Bidyashagar: He is a very good player and East Bengal fans were crazy after him last season. So I am thankful to each and every fan of East Bengal for supporting me and treating me to the same level and I again extend my gratitude to my coaches and teammates for keeping the trust on me. After playing three four matches I think I can proof I am much better than Jobby. So things definitely turned favorable for me after his departure as I got the chance to fit into his place.
Talk Sports 24X7: Do you motivate yourself separately to be a super sub for your team as you scored twice in the last quarters?
• Bidyashagar: Yes, I do. Whenever I am in the team be it on the ground or in the bench I keep myself ready to give my best at any chance I get as I always want to help my team do better.
Talk Sports 24×7: What are your expectations from the upcoming season?
• Bidyashagar: I wish to give my best for the team and want to lift the I-league this time. Lastly but most importantly I expect to get a chance in the National team.
Talk Sports 24×7: Do you have any message for the East Bengal fans?
• Bidyashagar: Without fans we are nothing. Because of you we are here. So keep supporting us as we wish to do well this season.