Former India football captain Renedy Singh is hopeful that Manipur will start producing good footballers who will be representing the national side like it used to be 10 to 15 years ago.
Renedy, a veteran of 72 appearances for the national side, said that Mizoram and Meghalaya have gone far ahead as far as football is concerned, lamenting that Manipur is no more the powerhouse of Indian football.
“Manipur was the powerhouse of Indian football 10 to 15 years back when we, at least seven to eight players used to play for India. Now, just one or two players from Manipur represent the senior national side. Since 2012, we haven’t won matches against Mizoram. So, we haven’t done well. Mizoram and Meghalaya, I think, are really doing well. Manipur is in the third. We are no more ‘The Manipur’ which we used to be,” Renedy told The News Mill.
Renedy who has played with Mohun Bagan in Kolkata for most of the times of his playing career, however, is hopeful that his state will be back to be the top.
“But I can see hope with academies coming up and former players are working hard to be like what we used to be years back. We all have to come together and work hard to retain the past glory. Many of them have started their academies and working on the young players. I’m sure in next three to four, if we really work hard, we will be able to see good players coming out from Manipur again,” he added.
At present Udanta Singh and Amarjit Singh Kiyam from Manipur feature in the team India.
While, the Renedy generation was comprised of Gouramangi Singh, Tomba Singh, Irungbam Surkumar Singh, Bijen singh, Sushil Singh, James Singh, Bungo Singh, Dharamjit Singh and Govin Singh among others.
Renedy said that they are hoping to play in the I League from his Classic Football Academy (CFA) in the next couple of years.
“We have 540 kids in three centres…we have selected players in under 13, 15 and 17 age group. So, we are looking forward and hoping to play in the I League next year. It will be a good test. We have already started to play in the leagues in Manipur. In the next seven to eight months we should be ready to take on the best at our level in the country,” Renedy who is the technical director of CFA, said.
On the phenomenal record of Manipur women football team which has won the national championship for the 20th time, Renedy said that Manipur women have always been at the top.
“We also need to give focus on the other states which is lacking on women football. Only, then the game grow equally,” he signed off.