India and Stabæk Fotball goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu faced some questions of the visitors of www.chrispd.de as part of the “Ask Your Star” feature.
Gurpreet signed a three-year contract with the Norwegian Tippeligaen side last August and he has played a few matches for them in the last couple of weeks.
Gurpreet and Stabæk are currently in the United States to take part in “The 2015 Simple Invitational” tournament in Portland. Stabæk have already played against Chicago Fire SC (0-0) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-3).
The young Indian goalkeeper featured 45 minutes against Whitecaps and he could earn more playing time in their final match against tournament hosts Portland Timbers on Saturday (early Sunday morning in India).
Please note that there will be a LIVE STREAMING of the Portland Timbers v Stabæk Fotball encounter here at www.chrispd.de.
Gurpreet took some time to answer YOUR questions at the sidelines of his stay in the United States.
ASK YOUR STAR | GURPREET SINGH SANDHU:
Q: First of all a big congratulation to you for making us all Indians proud. My question to you is:
What do you think made you the first choice goalkeeper for Stabaek, when you have and had to compete with the native Swedish goalkeepers and that too when you hail from a country whose FIFA rank is 171?
A:Hi Soumen, Thanks. I think its all about timing and opportunity, the coaches have worked on me day in day out and when they saw that im ready to play they played me, nobody cares here about where you hail from until your good enough.
Q: Very happy and proud for signing a permanent contract abroad which is very rare for a Indian players. What is the future of Indian football players in Europe? Despite huge potential in talent, where do we lack to compete in European football?
A: HI Siva. Thank you, just trying to raise the level of the game in our nation! As everyone knows we lack behind in infrastructure and professionalism in our clubs, only some clubs are able to provide good facilities. Whereas are young players who are real talent need to step out, clubs in Europe want players when they are in their teens. Our scouting system needs help.
Q1: When was the first time you thought you could be a professional footballer and what was your family’s reaction after you said so?
A1: Hi Achintya. I think when I was selected for the U-16 National Team in 2007 at that moment I thought I could break through and become a professional. My family has always been supportive my dad wanted to be a cricketer but he didn’t get the support, so he is living his dream by supporting me I think!
Q2: What was the first thought that came to your mind when you got to know that Staebaek wanted to sign you?
A2: I felt relieved frankly because it was a gamble for me as I had put all my stakes on Stabaek thinking that this is my only chance and I cant go back to india without getting a contract.
Q3: And my last question, I want to meet you someday and get my jersey signed. Is it possible?
A3: Sure it can be done.
Rajendra Singh Nayal
Q: How do you rate your chances to retain the place in first team when the actual league starts?
A: Hi Rajendra. Its 50/50 at the moment as Sayouba has been here for a while and he has got Clubs player of the year twice in a row. But im confident to rise above him and play in the league.
Q: Congratulations for your move to Norway. How is life in Norway? And do you feel homesick?
A: Hi Alex. Thank you, Life is good and a bit Boring as it’s a quiet country and im used to the ruckus of India. I do feel Homesick sometimes.
Q: How is the standard of football in Norway and what are the differences in comparision to India?
A: Hi Souvik. The Standard of football is obviously higher then India its more competitive as we face good quality players in every match. The infrastructure here is better and the coaching is better. Training facilities are good.
Q: Do you have any plans to return to India to play in the ISL or the I-League?
A: Hi Fredy. I have no idea about that yet. If everything happens according to what I think should happen I wont be back in India soon. But things change so lets see.
Q: How do you rate your chances to play for the Indian senior national team in the coming matches eg the World Cup qualifiers?
A: Hi VK Mani. Chances are good but it all depends on the Coaches.
Q: What was the reaction like when you told your parents and friends on your transfer to Norway? Were they supportive? And what did other Indian footballers tell you?
A: Hi Anil. Yes everyone was supportive and little insecure as I was going to stay in a foreign country all by self. Other Indian footballers supported me throughout and I think this opens a window of opportunity from them also to step out.
Q: Is there any chance for you to play in some major leagues like EPL,La Liga or Bundesliga?
A: HI Gaganjeet. Sure there is if I keep on working hard and start playing the league in Norway, people will start noticing and it can happen.
Q: Which European football clubs do you support?
A: Hi Francis. I like Real Madrid and PSG, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
Q: Could you give us an idea about your first game for your club in Norway. How did it feel like?
A: Hi Rohit. It felt really nice I was very nervous at the starting but I blended in as the game went on.