Calcutta: He doesnt idolise anyone, but is inspired by Manchester Uniteds Nemanja Vidic. Ask him why and Gourmangi Singh, Churchill Brothers defender, will narrate reasons, which have striking similarities with his own life.
Vidic is so good… He was not in great form when he joined United, but look at the way he matured after that. Thats very inspiring, says the Manipuri, who too struggled in the initial phases of his professional career.
Remembering those early days, he says: I was too young then… I was just out of the TFA and didnt really know about the professional set-up. So, I struggled a bit in my early days of club football.
But he is all praise for India coach Bob Houghton for instilling confidence in him. Bob has given me opportunities and the much-needed confidence. That has helped a lot, said Houghtons trusted central defender.
For him, defence is the key for any teams success. Its a very important job. You have to be patient and read the game properly. John Terry is a master at that. But Im still learning… he said.
Confident ahead of the IFA Shield final against Mohun Bagan on Saturday, the 24-year-old, who has won the national league twice — with Mahindra United (2005-06) and Churchill (2008-09) — refuses to accept that he has achieved a lot at such a young age. It feels good. But you see, a footballers career is short. So, its never too much… he reasoned.
Revealing that he had offers from both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal this season, Gourmangi said: I had offers… But with Churchill, I will be able to play the AFC Cup.
Thats why I stayed back with them.
The last five meetings
April 26, 2009: Super Cup (Gurgaon), Mohun Bagan 2 (Manju, Barreto) bt Churchill 1 (R Vashum)
March 4, 2009: I League (Margao), Churchill 3 (Kalu 2, Odafe) bt Mohun Bagan 1 (Barreto)
November 9, 2008: I League (Salt Lake), Mohun Bagan 1 (PC Lalawmpuiya) bt Churchill 0.
February 27, 2008: IFA Shield (Salt Lake), Churchill 1 (L Robert) bt Mohun Bagan 0
January 31, 2008: I League (Salt Lake), Mohun Bagan 2 (Bhaichung, Habibur) Churchill 1 (Mboyo Iyomi)
Complied by Hari Prasad Chattopadhyay