Manipur lad Jackichand Singh had been pivotal for Royal Wahingdoh FC in the 2013-14 2nd Division I-League, as he guided his team to finish as the leaders in the tournament, and also showed his ability of scoring goals in huge numbers.
Fondly known as Jacky, besides being the topscorer from India in the tournament with six goals, he also scored in the final game for Wahingdoh against Bhawanipore FC in their 3-2 victory at the Lammual Stadium in Aizawl on April 11, 2014.
In a tete-a-tete with AIFF Media, the 22-year-old attacking midfielder speaks about what he is looking forward to the most with Wahingdoh in the I-League next season, his inspirations, his journey so far with RWFC, and more.
Jacky, now that your team are in the I-League next season, what are you looking forward to the most?
We had been waiting for this moment for a very long time. It was our ambition from the very start to play at the highest level, and fortunately, our victory in the Second Division League made it possible for us.
We want to use this opportunity to showcase our playing style and test ourselves amongst the big boys.
What milestones have you set for yourself to try and achieve next season?
It’s been in a great learning process all in all. From the moment we began our campaign in the Second Division, we knew that we had to give our best to qualify. Nothing more. Nothing less. As for me, I just want to continue giving my best and learning more.
It will be a great opportunity to be playing against some of the footballers who have made a big mark In Indian football.
How do you think this Airtel I-League season has been?
It has been really exciting to watch and I am looking forward greatly to participate in the competition next season.
What do you think of Bengaluru FC’s performance this season?
Firstly, congratulations to them on winning the Airtel I-League. The fact that they put together such a highly motivated team and have so very good internal structures is commendable.
It shows that in Indian football it’s not about the big names but more about getting a team well-oiled for the competition. It is a big inspiration for even smaller teams that devoid of big stars, we can win the title.
How are you gearing up for the entry into the I-League?
I believe in our coaches and the management that they will do what is necessary for a good performance in the I-League. We will take one match at a time, and will be mentally focused on getting the job done.
You were the topscorer from India in the Second Division League 2013/14. How was the feeling achieving that feat?
It felt great. However, that has only happened because of the immense support from my teammates. It is because of them that the chances were created and the way we played our football.
How have Royal Wahingdoh helped in your nurturing as a player over the years?
I will forever be indebted to Mr. Dominic Sutnga – the Managing Director of the Club. I (and many others) have been with RWFC since 2009 and we are privileged to have a father figure like him who has taken care of us all these years.
I come from a very humble background in Manipur and would never have dreamt of this moment had it not been for Wahingdoh. In 2009 we were playing in the Second Division of the Shillong Football League and now we made our entry into the I-League in 5 years’ time. Of course it could have happened a bit earlier.
Since 2010, this team has been having a pre-season annually in Goa, playing against the big sides like Dempo, Salgaocar, Sporting Clube – so that we could always strive for higher standards. In May 2012, the team went to Germany for 3 weeks training. This year our juniors went to South Africa for the Future Champions Tournament and made a strong impression against big sides like Sunderland.
All these opportunities are seldom presented to guys in the I-League – forget about the Second Division League. But the boss always kept his faith in us and whatever we are today is solely due to him and his vision for the club.
Who has been your inspiration?
Renedy Singh, absolutely. Hailing from Manipur, North-East, he serves as the perfect inspiration. While we are still young we look up to him and see his focus, hard work and professional approach to the game.
No wonder he can still play at this level and age. All we try and do is learn from others like him and hope that our hard work will see us following in his footsteps.
What do you think about so many footballers coming from the North-East part of India?
The entire North East is known for its talent pool. We just need to learn to harness our talent in the right way so that we achieve results. Now that we have three teams in the I-League , next season, I am sure that things can only get better.
Finally, as you mentioned, there will be three Shillong Clubs in the top tier Club competition of Indian Football next season. what are your thoughts on that?
Until now, the Shillong derbies were always a big draw in the Shillong Premier League. But now additionally we may have 6 Shillong derbies in the I-League. So it’s a huge challenge and a big treat for the local fans as they will see these teams face each other in the Shillong League as well as in the I-League.
(Interview & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)