Pranjal Bhumij takes flight at Mumbai City FC

The nineteen-year-old Pranjal scored a stunning equaliser for Mumbai City against Kerala Blasters to announce himself on the Indian Super League (2018) scene.

Pranjal Bhumij scored a crucial equaliser for Mumbai City against Kerala Blasters.   -  H. Vibu

Despite Mumbai City FC's wobbly start to the Indian Super League season, it has conjured up some moments of brilliance and top among them is Pranjal Bhumij's stunning strike from distance against Kerala Blasters in October.

"It was a great feeling as it was my first goal. We were losing in that match and to score that last minute goal was not only good for me, but it was great for the team as well. I had an opportunity to score before a huge crowd and it was a great feeling," Pranjal recalls to Sportstar.

READ | Champion Chennaiyin eyes its first win against Mumbai City

In the dying minutes of the match, the 19-year-old found space outside the box and rifled the ball into the top right corner to pull Mumbai City out of the jaws of defeat and get itself a point. "When I got the ball, I thought of trying to take a shot without thinking too much about the end result. So, I took the shot and I scored a goal. It was a great feeling," says Pranjal.

Pranjal, who hails from Assam, started his senior career in I-League with DSK Shivanjians in 2016. However, his tryst with DSK only lasted for a year as he joined Mumbai City FC the following summer. Into his second season with the Islanders, Pranjal is happy to have made the much-needed switch in his fledgeling career.

Learning from the best

"When I was with DSK Shivajians, I did not get to play a lot of games and only played few games. After coming to ISL, I am getting to learn a lot. This is my second season with them. I am getting to learn a lot from the foreign players like technique. When I make a mistake, the seniors; foreign and the Indian players guide me. I'm having a great experience in the ISL."

With the likes of experienced international players like Paulo Machado, Lucian Goian, and Subhasish Bose playing in the same team, he believes that their guidance and support will play an instrumental role in shaping his future.

Pranjal Bhumij takes a shot against Kerala Blasters.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

 

"I am getting to learn a lot. We, juniors are inexperienced and unaware of when to do what. They teach us and guide us. Paulo and Goian are experienced players and have played in Europe. They guide us on how to dissect the defence, which is extremely useful for us. Moreover, foreign players come from different countries and they all have different techniques and qualities. So, I get to learn all these new techniques at such a young age, which is extremely beneficial for me."

After a good start to the first half of the 2017-18 season, Mumbai City FC's campaign derailed from thereon and could only manage a seventh-place finish. This season, under the guidance of new manager Jorge Costa, the club will hope there is no repeat of last season's mistakes if it is to make the playoff.

The Portuguese coach has rotated the squad very well, which has benefited the likes of Pranjal, who has featured in three of the five matches thus far. "This year has been good," says Pranjal. "I am getting game time from the start and this has given me a lot of confidence. When you get game time from the start, you get to learn different things slowly. We still have a lot of matches to go. This is going to be very useful for my future," says Pranjal.

Pranjal's much talked about goal has brought him into the limelight and the youngster would be keen to improve on his conversion rate in the upcoming matches. And what better place is there to do it than at the home of the defending champion Chennaiyin FC and silence the opposition home crowd once again.