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Noida lad has Delhi in his cross-hairs

sports Updated: Jul 30, 2010 00:42 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times
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Robin Singh caught the eye of club scouts last September when his last-gasp goal for Tata Football Academy (TFA) knocked the air out of East Bengal, handing them a crushing 1-3 defeat and their fastest exit in IFA Shield history.

That heralded the beginning of the end to East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick's dreams and though TFA didn't qualify for the next round, Singh was remembered as the new kid who squashed East Bengal's hopes of getting at least a point in a tournament they have won a record 27 times.

Since then, the 20-year-old from Noida has courted a fair bit of attention. Seven months later, it was accentuated when he was signed by East Bengal for a reported fee of Rs 25 lakh, unprecedented when it comes to recruitment of TFA cadets till date.

Hailing from Noida near Delhi, Singh will make his senior debut for Bengal against Delhi in Friday's Santosh Trophy quarterfinal league match. Asked how he felt on the eve of starting his senior career against what could have been his team, Robin said: "Bengal's my new home now. Playing against Delhi is different but it won't affect my performance."

Delhi officials claimed that they asked Robin to play for them, but the 6ft 2inch tall striker denied knowledge of that. "I was always ready to play for Delhi but nobody got in touch. Shabbir sir (Bengal coach) called me and

I was more than happy to say yes," he said.

The tall, strapping striker has been tipped to create a stir when he starts his professional career for East Bengal later this season. "Even before I started training with the team, I got to hear great things about this kid," said Bengal coach Shabbir Ali.

Robin is aware of the expectations. "All this hype has been generated by the media. There's still a long way to go and I really want to focus on the job at hand," he said.