A ball boy, then a teammate!

Former India footballer Renedy Singh recalls his first meeting with superstar I. M. Vijayan at the Tata Football Academy.

I have fond memories of all the games that we have played together; in domestic [for Mohun Bagan] as well as international football, says Renedy Singh of I. M. Vijayan.   -  The Hindu Photo Library

I have been fortunate to play alongside Indian football great I. M. Vijayan. When I was just starting off at the Tata Football Academy [in Jamshedpur], he had visited to play a game. I was just a ball boy.

From being in that position to sharing a meal with him at the Indian football camp was a great feeling.

I have fond memories of all the games that we have played together; in domestic [for Mohun Bagan] as well as international football.

Renedy Singh.   -  S. Subramanium

 

When I first joined the camp, he made me feel very comfortable. We would often meet for lunch and dinner. He knew I was young and he never let me feel that I was a newcomer. The conversations helped us bond better.

He was a finisher, perhaps the best striker India ever had. What a great player and a contributor to Indian football. If he was still playing, he would have been the highest goal-scorer alongside Sunil Chhetri.

As told to Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya.