Most 36-year-olds would envy India goalkeeper Sandip Nandy who showed up at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Monday that age has nothing to do with agility, warding off missiles from the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Joaquim Abranches and Lalkamal Bhowmick among others.
The unassuming keeper from Burdwan in West Bengal resembled a man keen on making this comeback to the India probables’ list count after three quiet years during which he battled a severe knee injury and yielded the India shot-stopper's job to Subrata Pal, a man who idolises Nandy.
"It was disappointing when I got replaced but that's how it is. Subrata was and is in great form and I always wish nothing but the best for him. On field, of course, there's healthy competition to be in the starting 11 but nothing more," said the East Bengal goalminder who said he is still "struggling to overcome the disappointment" of losing the I-League to Salgaocar last month.
"I'm happy but not satisfied, because it's sad that we did not win and next season we will just charge from day one," he told HT. "Coach (Trevor) Morgan has been encouraging and inspiring, something I needed."
Having played under Bob Houghton and Syed Nayeemuddin — India coach Armando Coalco's immediate predecessors — Nandy is now enjoying his time at the preparatory camp for the World Cup qualifiers against the UAE next month.
"Houghton did a lot for Indian football and took us to new heights. But I'm enjoying my time under coach Armando also. He is very good and there's a positive feel at the camp."
Joaquin Abranches, Dempo's 25-year-old striker, has so far looked the most confident of Colaco's forwards in training.
"I'm used to the coach, the seniors have been easy to gel with so I'm trying to make the most of my time here," he said.