U-17 WC: Renedy Singh calls on India to ‘dream big’

The Manipur icon waits with bated breath as India makes its debut in World Cup football through the Under-17 event.

Renedy Singh has appealed to India’ fans not to be despondent about the team’s performances against some of the world’s best.   -  S. Subramanium

Renedy Singh could never achieve his dream of playing in a World Cup. For the Manipur icon, football was life. He built his career on the strength of his passionate drive, earned rave reviews for his dead ball expertise and defence splitting moves, and graced the football field with dignity. Now he waits with bated breath as India makes its debut in World Cup football through the Under-17 event.

He is excited for the team. “I want the team to set new benchmarks. I want the boys to play as if they won’t get to play again. Give it everything – every move should have goal written over it. Every match should be a landmark step. Give it their best and let the result take its own shape,” said the former India star.

For Renedy, for Indian football too, this is the stage of reckoning. “World Cup is huge. The cream in your age group will be here and the challenge should inspire you like never before. The challenge to beat yourself. The challenge to beat the opponent. Unless you dream big you don’t achieve big.”

The expectations may seem unrealistic too. “It is understandable when you play at home and there is such hype around the event. The players have had superb preparations even though this coach (Luis Norton de Matos) has had hardly six months of time to galvanise the team. Ideally, he should have been drafted a good two to three years before the Cup. But the boys have learnt a lot I am sure and can showcase their talent and hard work in front of home fans.”

‘It is for the players to grab the opportunity’

Renedy, 38, observed, “The team would have benefited with some more competitive matches. The federation and the government has done its best. It is for the players to grab the opportunity.”

According to Renedy, the team shall carry the “best wishes of the nation and that can be a big factor. Don’t slam them if they don’t do well, lose by big margin. It can happen to anyone. It happened to Brazil (against Germany) at home. Please remember this is a world-class competition and we should not contribute by putting needless pressure on the players. They have a fine coach who should continue for the next four years. Only then can you achieve the desired results. The effort should continue after the World Cup too. It is the most critical aspect to maintain the momentum.”

Renedy appealed, “Please support the players. We are not world beaters. They lack competitive experience. They are young, first-timers at the Cup, have toiled to be in a position to tackle the stronger opponents. They are up against some of the world’s best. With good wishes and support you never know what these kids can pull off.”