The steel city seems to have caught the imagination of Jackichand Singh, one of the prized acquisitions of Jamshedpur FC.
The 28-year-old star winger, also known as Jacki, will miss the fans in Jamshedpur this ISL season but promised to meet them next year when hopefully the Covid pandemic would be a thing of the past.
The cash-rich tournament will be played in Goa in November this time.
“Jamshedpur has a good football history. People love football there. Tata Football Academy has been in Jamshedpur for over 30 years now and I hear there is a tournament named JSA (Jamshedpur Sporting Association) league that has been there for over 75 years. And I remember, when I was playing for FC Goa and used to visit Jamshedpur, the fans would come to watch training and chant my name. I am very keen to visit the place but the situation does not permit me,” Jackichand said.
Speaking on the phone from Keikol, his village in Manipur, the winger said Jamshedpur FC is very hungry to get to the play-offs. “I am going to give it my all to reach that stage. This year the tournament is happening in Goa and so I won't be able to see the fans. But hopefully this Covid situation will be over by next year and I will be able to see them then. I will really miss the fans.” he says.
On Jamshedpur not being able to reach play-offs for the past three seasons and whether the scenario will change with his joining the squad, Jackichand said: “ Yes, I absolutely hope so. And even though JFC haven’t reached play-offs, they did always have a good team. I feel in the last two years with FC Goa, I have faced Jamshedpur multiple times and they always gave good competition, except for the last match where Goa beat them 5-0. JFC have won twice, drawn one and lost one when I was with Goa. My aim is to ensure we will be even better than this year.”
On the story behind his name, he said his parents were fans of actor Jacki Chan and that’s how they kept his name. “Even I didn’t know this till I was 13. I was playing Subroto Cup under-14 and during an interview, the media asked me to call and ask my parents the reason behind my name and that is when they revealed that it has been kept after the legendary actor,” the international recalled.
On being asked if it is difficult for him to stay away from his family most of the time, he said, “Yes, it is difficult but now I am accustomed to it. It’s been like this since I was a teenager playing in Armed Boys Sports Academy in Shillong. Being away from family would make me feel alone and it was difficult. But as I grew and became a professional, the situation improved and I started accepting this,” Jackichand said.
Asked what he does when he is not training, he said: “ A long time back, a coach told me that you train for two hours a day only but you also have to take care of yourself for the remaining 22 hours of the day. I still follow this rule. I keep a check on what I eat, on my post-training recovery, gym etc. Of course, when I am at home, some eating restrictions automatically go for a toss but otherwise, during the season, the diet and nutrition is very strict. In the past few years, our country has seen a good amount of scientific work going into helping athletes perform to their best by eating and living a healthy lifestyle.”
On leaving Goa, Jackichand said it was a personal decision. “They (Goa) were successful and will be playing AFC Champions League and I wish them the best for that. I joined JFC because I have been given a great review about the city in terms of football. It’s a proper football city. The people in Jamshedpur live and breathe football. The facilities are amazing and the weather is perfect for the game,” he signed off.