Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi (AIFF Media Team): Former National Team captain Gouramangi Singh Moirangthem has admitted that though his prime job was to defend but scoring goals gave him lot of confidence.
In a chat with AIFF TV, the former defender talked about the times when he surprised his rivals by scoring a goal in International match.
“When you go forward as a defender, you hope, you pray that you score – especially because I am not a natural goal-scorer,” Gouramangi, who is also called as ‘Mangi,’ added. “It gives you a lot of confidence when you score
The 34-year-old, who has most recently taken to coaching FC Bengaluru United in the Hero Second Division League, feels that the presence of Sunil Chhetri and Subrata Paul helped motivate him to work harder.
“I look up to both of them. They are workaholics. I just don’t know where they get all that energy from. They’re both absolute beasts while training – there’s absolutely no excuses to go easy on training with these guys,” said Mangi.
“I was not the most talented, or the strongest, or the fastest. I needed a way to survive, and I decided to follow these guys in training.”
“Right from how they take care of themselves, to how humble and calm they are, they truly are role models for the next generation. I hope both of them go on to play another five years,” d
Having captained India at the U-19 level, Gouramangi Singh proceeded to make his senior National Team debut in 2006.
“I think (former India Head Coach) Bob (Houghton) turned me into a central defender. One evening he told me about playing in that position. At that point I was looking forward to becoming a regular, so I took up the challenge,” disclosed Mangi. “So, the credit for turning me into a centre-back certainly goes to Bob.”
“I remember my goals for India, of course. And some of them were very important goals. As a central defender my primary job is in defence. In the entire 90 minutes, I would get perhaps not more than 2-3 opportunities to go up,” he opined
It was during the an interview with AIFF TV skipper Sunil Chhetri had commented: “I still tell our national team defenders and some other midfielders and attackers too, that Mangi bhai has more goals for the country than all of them. #legend.”
Though Gouramangi couldn’t pick up his favourite goal, Chhetri again took to the comments section and promptly pointed out his favourite ‘Mangi’ strikes. “Against Cameroon and Bahrain…my picks!” Chhetri opined.
However, the former India number 19 did agree on pinpointing a couple of goals that he felt were important in the context of their respective matches.
“We were in Male (Maldives) playing the SAFF Cup (2008) semi-final against Bhutan. Sunil had put us level in the first half, and then we could not break them for a long time. We were almost at the end of extra time, with about a minute left, when we got a free-kick,” said Mangi.
“Samir (Nayak) took the free-kick, and Abhishek (Yadav) headed it on to me. Somehow, I was there and managed to put it in. I generally do not consider scoring as important as defending for me, but in that match, I was relieved that we did not have to take the game to penalties,”