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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

No support from local authorities, says Indian football team midfielder Anirudh Thapa

Anirudh Thapa, who won the Intercontinental Cup 2018 title with the Indian football team, said that he has not received much help from the Uttarakhand government during his early years.

football Updated: Jun 12, 2018 19:22 IST
Anupam Trivedi
Anupam Trivedi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Anirudh Thapa (R) was a part of the Indian football team which lifted the Intercontinental Cup 2018 title.
Anirudh Thapa (R) was a part of the Indian football team which lifted the Intercontinental Cup 2018 title.(AP)

Pumped up from the victory at the Intercontinental Cup 2018 in Mumbai last week, Indian football team youngster Anirudh Thapa is disappointed with the facilities provided to sportspersons in his home state of Uttarakhand.

After winning the title, Thapa reached his home town in Dehradun on Monday. His father, Pramod Thapa, works with ONGC and has struggled during the initial years of his coaching. As per the father-son duo, the government authorities aren’t considerate towards sportspersons owing to which many aspiring footballers fail to chase their dreams.

“The association (district football) neither supported my son when he was preparing for nationals, nor has approached us now when he has already won Intercontinental Cup,” senior Thapa said adding on that the fate of young footballers is compromised due to non-supportive attitude of the local association.

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Anirudh recalled how his father arranged a ground for practice when the government and other agencies denied. “Thanks to ace footballer Ratan Thapa ji who provided me ground for coaching,” he said.

Energised with his recent success, Anirudh is now preparing for Asian Games (U-23) to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia next month. He studied at St. Joseph’s Academy in Dehradun. He then joined St. Stephen’s Football Academy in Chandigarh where he was trained and simultaneously completed studies.

“It feels great to have won an international cup and especially to make my country and state proud,” he chuckled.

After getting selected for AIFF Elite Academy and Under 18 Indian team, he was selected to join French club Metz on a short training stint sponsored by Chennaiyin FC. This was in 2016. Since then, he is a part of the current ISL champions Chennaiyin FC and has played several matches for the club.

The Indian football coach Stephen Constantine applauded Thapa’s performance before media stating , ‘he has an outstanding work rate.’

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But what comes with success is responsibility. He trains for 8-9 hours a day and is very particular about his diet. Unlike youth of his age, he is not a social media savvy. His Twitter account has 1552 followers and he is followed by mere 135 people on Facebook.

For an international athlete, it’s not easy to abstain from fun. “I do have fun. I go out with my friends and play video games, spend time with family,” he said.

And the best thing about his hometown-how can he miss. “Whenever I am here, I have to drive along Rajpur Road. The city has seen a lot of development in past few years, but it’s my place. It’s where I love being myself,” he added.

He owes his success to his father who worked hard on him and also his mother Sudha who supported his dreams. Thapa has plans to support struggling footballers of his town. “Whenever I get time, I try training young footballers of Dehradun and preparing them for senior club trials,” he signs off.

First Published: Jun 12, 2018 19:22 IST

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