Jarmanjit Singh at JRD Tata Sports Complex on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
He is known as SAM (read surface-to-air missile) on the soccer field for his ability to neutralise his opponent’s every strike, be it a grounded shot or a volley on target.
Meet Jarmanjit Singh, a defender who has been an impenetrable wall for Tata Football Academy (TFA) and Jharkhand for almost four years. Now, the 19-year-old will bid goodbye to the Jamshedpur cradle to join Sporting Clube de Goa in July.
The TFA graduate has signed a three-year contract of Rs 38 lakh with the Goan outfit. Of the 18 cadets of the 2010-14 batch, Singh has struck the most lucrative deal.
“I had offers from other clubs too, including Kingfisher East Bengal and Dempo, but I decided to join Sporting Clube de Goa because I believe I will get more opportunities to play there,” said Jarmanjit, who hails from Amritsar.
The teen, considered to be one of the most promising defenders in the country, added that his dream was to play senior nationals. “I always wanted to represent my country. I hope my dream will come true soon,” he said.
Jarmanjit said he would leave TFA with fond memories. “Besides learning the nuances of the game, I immensely enjoyed my days at the cradle. The trainees shared a lot of camaraderie. I will visit the academy whenever I come to Jamshedpur,” he said.
Jarmanjit is currently recovering from a ligament tear in his left ankle and hopes to be match-fit before he joins Goa. “I suffered the injury while leading TFA in the Steel Trophy at Kharagpur earlier this year. The injury is healing slowly but steadily. I turned out for TFA in the first match on April 21 of the ongoing Under-19 I-League where we took on Kingfisher East Bengal. However, I chose to skip Wednesday’s tie against Navi Mumbai Football Academy. But, I hope to play in the upcoming matches,” he said.
The tall and lanky defender is yet to play for the country’s Under-19 side, but he has attended national camps in Goa and travelled to Sheffield in England as a part of TFA’s exposure tour.
“The offshore exposure has helped iron out some flaws in my technique. Friendly matches in Sheffield have also contributed in fine-tuning my skills. I have played several matches in the country and captained Jharkhand in the Santosh Trophy. These have kept me in good stead,” he explained.
The youth revealed plans to get enrolled in a Punjab college. “Education is important. I’ll be spending most of my time in Goa. But, I will go to Amritsar for exams,” he said, adding that he passed his Class X boards under National Institute of Open Schooling.