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Manipur boy on a roll

Jamshedpur, April 29: A brilliant hattrick by K. Udanta Singh helped Tata Football Academy (TFA) bag the winner’s trophy at the Under-19 I-League, which concluded at Keenan Stadium on Tuesday.

The scintillating performance by Udanta, who graduated from TFA earlier this month, comes at a time when the 18-year-old striker is gearing up to join Bengaluru FC on a three-year contract of Rs 21 lakh.

“I feel very happy with my performance in the last match of the league. It is a parting gift from my side,” Udanta said after the match.

Udanta, whose swiftness on the soccer field, coupled with an ever-increasing inventory of skills, helps him tear into the strongest defence, has dreams of making it big in the soccer world and represent India in the years to come.

Tired after back-to-back matches in the league, the TFA boy spoke to The Telegraph at the Keenan Stadium. “I am very happy with the way we have performed in the I-League. We played as a unit and there was a lot of cohesion among the boys. I am very satisfied with my form and would like to continue in the same vein when I take to the field for Bengaluru FC in the coming season,” said Udanta.

Known for his fitness and agility, Udanta heaped praise on TFA for developing his soccer skills. “I always wanted to become a footballer. I played soccer with my friends in Manipur. My skills got refined when I joined the TFA in 2010. The cradle has given me everything and I want to express my gratitude to it,” Udanta, a fan of Brazilian striker Ronaldo, added.

The fast-footed Udanta, who always looks for scoring opportunities, will be joining Bengaluru FC in July. “I am desperate to go home to Moirang (Manipur). I’ve been away for almost a year. I will complete formalities with my club and head to my village,” Udanta said.

Udanta has been widely exposed to challenges of several tournaments at home and abroad. He has represented Jharkhand at the 34th National Games in Ranchi and turned out for TFA in Durand Cup, Darjeeling Gold Cup, Saras Gold Cup and Under-20 I-League.

His offshore assignments include an exposure tour to China in 2013 and Asian Football Confederation qualifiers at Doha the same year. Udanta also attended the All India Nike camp held in Australia. This apart, the talented forward was part of the India Under-22 camp in Bengaluru earlier this year.

TFA mentor and former international footballer P. Vijay Kumar said Udanta was the best player of the 2010-14 batch. “Udanta is a terrific striker who has a bright future ahead of him. He has the ability to convert the slightest of scoring opportunities. I have no hesitation in saying that he is the best player produced by us in 2010-14,” he said.

Udanta has scored nine goals in the I-League.

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