Halicharan Narzary: ‘I aim to score a couple of goals in the AFC Asian Cup’

Halicharan Narzary, the 24-year-old Indian winger, says the team’s first match in the competition, against UAE, will be the toughest.

Halicharan Narzary hopes to improve his goals tally for India.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Halicharan Narzary, a winger and a member of the 23-man Indian squad selected for the AFC Asian Cup 2019, aims to make his presence felt with at least a couple of goals in the competition.

In an interview with AIFF, the 24-year-old, looking forward to participating in the marquee event in the UAE, said, “It was up to me to work hard, improve myself, and prove to the coach (Stephen Constantine) that I deserved to be in that list of 23. Now that he has selected me, I aim to score a couple of goals in the tournament. Of course, qualifying for the round of 16 is of paramount importance.”

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He, however, clarified, “As long as the goals come, it doesn’t matter who scores. Obviously, I haven’t scored that many goals in the India shirt. That motivates me to work harder, and improve my scoring abilities.”

Difficult contest

Looking ahead to India’s first match, against host UAE on January 6, 2019, Narzary said, “I feel that the match against UAE will be the toughest. They are the hosts, and it is always difficult to play against a home team in a big competition. The crowd will be like the 12th man for them, so we will have to work even harder, in order to get a good result.”

All eyes will be on the Indian team as it embarks on its AFC Asian Cup 2019 campaign in January, 2019. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

 

Looking back on the occasion he was kept out of the team, during India’s friendly against Jordan in November, 2018, Narzary said, “I want to fight for my country. But it was understandable that the coach kept me out after we were stuck in the Kuwait Airport for almost 32 hours. We were not physically fit to play that day. But everyone worked hard against Jordan.”

Struggles

Narzary credited his family for its support through difficult circumstances in helping him realise his aspirations. He said, “I had a really difficult time when I was a kid. I had to struggle a lot back then. But it gives me immense satisfaction where I have reached now, after all the hard work. My family also helped me a lot during those days. I would not have been what I was, had it not been for them.”

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He added, “I'm not someone who belongs to an affluent family. My parents had to struggle to make ends meet. Playing football professionally was a distant dream for me at that time. Let alone playing football, even owning a proper football boot was a far-fetched dream for me during my childhood.”

Narzary will be hoping he utilises the big stage in the UAE well to help India round off a successful campaign.