David Ngaihte hopes to use ISL stint with Delhi Dynamos to earn India call-up
David Ngaihte, winger at Indian Super League (ISL) club Delhi Dynamos, was in love with cricket growing up in Manipur, idolising and imitating Sachin Tendulkarindian super league 2017 Updated: Dec 02, 2017 12:49 IST
David Ngaihte hadn’t planned on making a living out of football. As a kid growing up in Manipur, it was cricket that he first fell in love with.
“As a kid, I used to love seeing Sachin Tendulkar play and I used to imitate him while playing on the field,” said the winter, who is playing for Delhi Dynamos in this season’s Indian Super League (ISL).
However, things changed just as he was about to enter college.
“I realised cricket was not going to help me in the professional front, so after completing my 12th, I started spending more time on the field playing football. The passion was always there since I grew up in a community where football was the first sport,” he explained.
While football came late into Ngaihte’s life, it was a move to Delhi that proved to be the turning point in his professional career.
“I was doing my graduation through distance learning and that is where my professional career started and (I) realised my potential,” he said.
A wise decision
It was at this point that Ngaihte faced a dilemma. With the offer of a job at Food Corporation of India (FCI), he had to choose between the safety of a government job or follow his dream of playing professional football. He chose the latter.
It turned out to be a wise decision. Ngaihte soon made it to Delhi’s Santosh Trophy team, before earning a move to Kolkata-based club, Southern Samity. Ngaihte played a crucial role in taking the club to the final round of the 2nd Division I-League.
While Southern Samity eventually failed to earn a promotion to the top-flight, Ngaihte’s performances saw him earn a move to newly-promoted Rangdajied United in the I-League.
At Rangdajied, Ngaihte helped the club to a Shillong Premier League (SPL) title. The club managed to survive the first season in I-League (2013-14) but were eventually booted out of the top-flight after failing to meet the licensing criteria.
“There is great fan following in both Shillong and Kolkata and they are all genuine supporters of the game. The difference in Kolkata is that the media is crazy about football, and even if there is a small game, there is great amount of coverage,” Ngaihte said of his time in the two cities.
After stints at Shillong Lajong, NorthEast United and Minerva Punjab FC, Ngaihte is now back in Delhi, having signed with Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League.
Two weeks short of his 28th birthday, the winger from Manipur said he has not yet given up hope of a national team call-up, terming it as his ‘wildest dream’.
“Being in my late 20s I don’t know if it will happen or not, but I am hoping for the best and I am hopeful this season will be a good stepping stone,” he said.