Exclusive Interview Sana Singh
Chinglensana Singh joined Shillong Lajong FC in August 2015 at the age of 18, after being nurtured in the Tata Football Academy for four years.
Sana started playing football at the age of 7 as he fell deeply in love with the game and enjoyed playing it immensely. But Sana also explains how tough it was to get his family’s approval.
He said, “In the beginning it was tough to gain support from my parents as they wanted me to focus on my studies and it was also very hard for me to convince my brother. However it was in the year 2010 when I got selected for Mahindra United that I gained full support from my family. They understood that football is a very important part of my life.”
He played for Mahindra United U-15 Team and Air India U-15 and U-19 Team. He then got selected for Tata Football Academy in 2012 and at TFA Sana won the U-19 I-League in 2014.
Sana has also played with the Indian National Team U-19 in the AFC Cup Qualifiers in 2013 and during his playing career at TFA he has also travelled to England for an exposure trip and played with many clubs including Sheffield United F.C Youth Teams.
Sana who dons the jersey number 6 at Shillong Lajong FC played his first tournament for the Reds in the Shillong Premier League Super Division which Lajong lifted the championship trophy for the second consecutive year in November 2015.
On seeing his skilful and powerful performances during the Shillong Premier League as a Central Defender, the Lajong Coaching Staff were greatly convinced that “Sana was a very calm and composed defender” and the young boy continued to prove his worth to the Lajong Management during the pre-season training as well.
Inevitably, it wasn’t a hard choice for Lajong to pick Sana for the senior team and thus the youngster made his I-League debut this season on the 10th January 2016. The youngster has made 10 appearances out of 11 matches that Lajong has played in the current season of the I-League.
On getting this golden opportunity at Lajong Sana said, “This is my first I-League season as well as first I-League Club. I believe that I made the right choice joining Lajong after my stint at TFA. This is the only club in India that gives so much of opportunity to youngsters who have the potential and talent to play in the top league of Indian Football.”
“I am grateful that the coaches have believed in me throughout and I wish to continue to work harder and give my best for the club. I also hope that my club performances will be recognized and get the opportunity to don the National Team Jersey one day.”
Sana who has partnered with Aibor on several occasions in central defence, said that he has never been happier being paired with one of the most renowned Khasi footballer of Meghalaya and one of the best defenders in India. He said, “I am very humbled and honoured to have played the back line with Aibor Bhai. During the matches it is Aibor who motivates not just me but every single player in the team to never give up and encourages us to fight harder and give our best on the pitch.”
“He is my biggest source of inspiration and I look up to him as my idol in Indian Football. It was Aibor who taught me how to maintain consistency in every game as well as be disciplined.”
After playing football for many years now and achieving so much at a very young age, Sana Singh regards his first I-League goal as the most memorable moment of his life. He expressed his delight by saying that, “When I scored my first I-League goal against Mohun Bagan on the 17th February in Kolkata I was so happy and I couldn’t believe that my first goal would come so early that too in my debut season.”
“Hence it was very special as this is my first I-League season and being a defender we have a lot of responsibilities at the back and we don’t really expect to score goals.”
“I hope to continue scoring more goals even in a Centre Back position for my club as every win is special.”
As Sana and the rest of the team prepare for the much awaited second leg of the North East Derby against new comers Aizawl FC on the 1st April, Sana expresses his views and thoughts on the upcoming big clash.
He said, “The team encountered a few highs with a few lows in the current season of the I-League. We have five more games to go and if we can secure victories there is no stopping us from having a good finish to the season. We are only three points behind of Sporting Clube de Goa, who are occupying the fourth position and one point shy of Salgaocar FC who are sixth in the standings.”
“The rest of the games will be tough but nothing is impossible if we believe in ourselves and fight till the end. Our team is the youngest in the League but we are all here for a reason and hence we have been chosen to be part of the team.”
“We all need to be more focused, determined and have 100 percent faith and confidence.”
“The team is working very hard at the moment as we are preparing for the derby.”
“We are making full use of the International break at the moment and working on areas that need improvement. By the time AFC comes to play us in Shillong we will be all set and ready to host them at our home fortress.
We also need the Lajong Faithfuls rallying behind the team at the matches with full support. I have always heard so much about the football lovers in Shillong while I was playing outside of Shillong. I knew the club has a huge fan base and there are many ardent supporters. I hope that we get a massive turn out once again for all the three remaining home games as every love and support we get truly matters during the game”, he concluded.
A crucial contest awaits the Reds of Shillong on the 1st of April at the JN Stadium Shillong at 7:05pm. The second leg of the North East derby will take place between Shillong I-League club Shillong Lajong FC and Mizoram I-League Club Aizawl FC.
It will be a tight battle as the two clubs are looking for nothing less than a victory as we head towards the end of the season. Lajong has only three home games and two away matches remaining and every match is important for the team.
The Reds suffered a major setback this season due to lack of goals being the only factor stopping the team from winning matches. They have come close on many occasions wrapping up the games on a winning note but due to lack of finish and lady luck not being with the team has been a grave concern.
As mentioned by Chinglensana, the team is working on many areas to improve their weak points during the International break and will leave no stone un-turned as they look forward to come with a bang on the 1st April and close the season on a promising note with the belief of bringing back top league of football to all the football lovers of Shillong.