India need to sustain momentum against Afghanistan: Manvir Singh

Published on Jun 10, 2021 04:43 PM IST
"We need to sustain the momentum gathered in the match against Bangladesh and even in the 0-1 loss against Qatar. But everyone is aware that all of that is past," Manvir said.
Manvir Singh (L) and Sunil Chhetri (R)(AIFF)
Manvir Singh (L) and Sunil Chhetri (R)(AIFF)

Forward Manvir Singh says the Indian football team needs to sustain the momentum in the upcoming 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifier against Afghanistan, having beaten Bangladesh in the previous outing.

India rode on a Sunil Chhetri brace to down Bangladesh 2-0 here on Monday for their first away win in a World Cup qualifier in 20 years.

"We need to sustain the momentum gathered in the match against Bangladesh and even in the 0-1 loss against Qatar. But everyone is aware that all of that is past," Manvir said.

"The match on 15th is a fresh canvas. We need to paint it the right manner. The coach has been constantly working with us. We need to pay him back," he said.

Manvir says he is always trying to learn from national team captain Sunil Chhetri and his ISL club ATK Mohun Bagan teammate Roy Krishna.

Manvir, who made it to the national team after a successful domestic season, feels nothing is constant as a striker.

"My job becomes easier when I play alongside top strikers. I just watch Sunil-bhai and try to imitate his calm in front of the goal. At the end of the day, that ice-cool head makes all the difference. That's education for me. In a match a striker won't get a million chances," Manvir told AIFF.

"There will be days when you will get just one chance, or maybe a half chance. If you are able to make it count, you have done your job. I also need to mention that I look up to Roy Krishna's calm in front of the goal. They are my heroes."

He also spoke about his progress as a striker since the beginning of his journey in competitive football.

"A striker is all about the confidence and that only comes though the game time he gets. The more you get to play, the more mature you become.

"It's all about your intuition, the movements inside the box, sniffing it, and eventually the finishing. I reiterate, you can only get all of that when you get to play. Otherwise, your talent and determination will always be on the bench."

The 2022 FIFA World Cup first-leg match against Qatar in 2019 changed the international career of Manvir.

Before that match, the 25-year-old was never a regular starter for India, but the performance against Qatar made him a permanent feature in Igor Stimac's team.

Asked how he describe himself as a player -- a winger or a striker -- and he said, "At the outset, I was an out and out striker. But a player needs to be flexible."

"Modern-day football is not just about sticking to one position and role. I have been playing on the wings -- both on the right wing and left wing in recent times.

"I feel that has helped me understand the dynamics of a team's attacking philosophy. It is a plus point for any player."

Manvir said his father played against Chhetri and advised to always learn from the Indian talisman.

"My dad Kuldip Singh who played for PSEB as a striker and scored quite a few goals in the Federation Cup, Durand Cup and the IFA Shield besides a host of other tournaments always mentions to me to learn from Sunil-bhai the art of longevity.

"In fact, he had played against him, and always tells me 'when you are seeing him from close, learn as much as you can. Sunil's speciality is that he has been there for so long. And that is extremely hard work'."

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
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