India goalkeeper Karanjit Singh is a vital cog in the wheel for Airtel I-League contenders Salgaocar who are hot on their trail recovering from a mid-season slump to now breathing down the neck of leaders Bengaluru FC with only three points separating the two at the moment.
In a freewheeling interview with AIFF Media, the 28-year old Punjab lad who has kept the most number of clean sheets this season speaks about his team’s chances, their rock-solid backline, how the winter break has helped him and much more.
You have started the New Year on a very bright note keeping five of your nine clean sheets in 2014. What different have you done?
The break prior to the second phase of the Airtel I-League really helped. We sat down during the break as a Team, analysed and worked collectively on our weaknesses. We went through earlier match videos as part of the preparation and that has helped to a great extent.
How much has the back four of Nicolau Coalco, Chika Wali, Augustin Fernandes and Mathew Foschini helped?
The Team’s first line of defence is our forward line. The back four named above have been exceptional and thereby reduced the pressure on me to a great extent. Our midfielders have also ably assisted the defence.
Which among the Airtel I-League teams have you found the going most difficult against standing under the bar?
Undoubtedly Shillong Lajong FC! Their forwards were great in the return leg at Tilak Maidan. They have a great sense of positioning and are capable of creating opportunities out of nothing. This Airtel I-League has by far been the most competitive in recent times and a lot of the Teams have posed a lot of threat. Any Team is capable of beating the other on any given day.
Do you agree that Salgaocar have peaked at the right time?
We started the Airtel I-League well. However, we did slump in between but are most certainly back on track having won 16 of the possible 18 points and am hopeful we continue with this good form going into the last 4 matches of the season.
What is the mood in the team at the moment? Knowing that you cannot afford any more slipups, how different is it from playing a first-round match?
It is always good when you are winning. The mood currently is excellent and most importantly the Players are playing for each other. The mood in the dressing room is what translates into performances on the pitch.
How important is it to have a proper Goalkeeping Coach at a Club?
It is vital to have a proper and regular Goalkeeping Coach at a Club. Viru-sir (Virender Singh) was a great Player during his playing days and more importantly makes for a great Coach. I feel lucky and blessed to have him as a Coach, mentor and a guide. I have learnt a lot from him. I am also thankful and grateful to Derrick Pereira for the invaluable guidance and support which has enabled me perform to the best of my ability this season.
(Interview & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)