Manvir Singh: Kolkata prefect stage for first win of World Cup qualifiers

Manvir is confident about registering India's first win of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers against Bangladesh in Kolkata on October 15.

Vinit Rai and Manvir Singh (R) in training during the preparatory camp.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Stepping in to fill in the shoes of India's talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri is no easy task. So when Manvir Singh lead the line -- since Chhetri missed the tie due to illness -- against the AFC Asian Cup champion Qatar last month, he earned a lot of praises for the tireless shift he put in all over the pitch.

With a solitary point in two World Cup qualifiers games so far, Manvir is confident about registering the Blues Tigers' first win of the campaign against Bangladesh in Kolkata on October 15.

"It's going to be a perfect stage for us to get our first win and we're eager to achieve that. I played in Kolkata for a short stint [with Mohammedan SC] and was mesmerised seeing the passion amongst them about the game. I just can't wait to go out at the VYBK Stadium (Salt Lake Stadium) and win it together," Manvir said on the sidelines of the ongoing preparatory camp in Guwahati, which kicked off on October 3.

READ | Gurpreet heroics help Blue Tigers to goalless draw against Qatar

The Punjab-born striker, who made 80% successful passes against Qatar, was praised by none other than Chhetri.

"I honestly don't know whether I deserve to be praised like this. Sunil bhai said a lot of good things about me in front of everyone and even he wished me after the game personally. It's huge for me," a humble Manvir continued.

Nikhil Poojary, who was another surprise starter on the left side of the midfield against the Maroons, sounded ecstatic while speaking about the match which was played in front of a 23,000-odd crowd at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha.

"It was a great night for all of us, let alone Indian football. Everyone played their due part and contributed to earn the desired result.  Gurpreet [Singh Sandhu] bhai dished out one of his finest performances which will be remembered for long," Poojary recalled.

"As coach [Igor] Stimac mentioned, we have to keep our heads down and keep working to get our first win now. Unless we get to win against Bangladesh, the draw against Qatar will lose its value," he added.

Vinit Rai, who came on off the bench against Qatar, mentioned that the ‘never-say-die’ attitude in the dressing room helped them achieve the result in front of a hostile crowd.

“We can’t thank enough coach Igor Stimac for believing in our abilities. Now, we have a major task against Bangladesh and no matter what, we have to get the desired result,” Rai concluded.  

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