The experience of playing in a FIFA World Cup is surreal according to many. The Indian U-17 National Team players were no different when the young colts became the first ever Indian team to participate in a FIFA Tournament, the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
The colts were left in a surreal state of mind after the match, as many had just ‘live their dream.’
“We were all so focused on the match that perhaps we did not realize that we were living our dreams because everyone in the team wanted to be part of a FIFA World Cup, and yesterday, we did it,” said skipper Amarjit Singh.
“It was a surreal feeling which we could only grasp after the match. However, it was a lot of mixed emotions but now we know what playing in a FIFA Tournament feels like.”
“All my early morning runs and practices, all my work in the gym and with ball were worth it. All my sacrifices were worth it and were worth playing in the FIFA U-17 World Cup,” Amarjit stated.
Reflecting on the match Goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh said: “It was a bitter-sweet experience for me. I always dreamt of playing in a FIFA World Cup and when my named was called, shivers ran down my spine and I was so excited to finally know what it feels like.”
“At the same time, the loss was a bitter experience. Every match that I have played I have wanted to win and it is hard to digest that we lost against them (USA).”
“We also got to know how easily and how quickly the game can change in high level international matches,” Dheeraj stated pointing to the third goal conceded.
The cruelty of football was all too visible in the 84th minute when Anwar Ali’s thumping shot rattled the woodwork and ricocheted back, only for the US forwards to take advantage and score on the counter attack.
“I was left stunned, one moment I was about to score and the next moment we conceded,” stated Anwar Ali. “There are no words to describe what I felt like in those few seconds, one moment I was about to be on cloud nine and the very next it felt like heartbreak.”
The experience of living ‘the dream’ felt surreal to many in retrospect. “When the coach told me that I was about to come in as a substitution I felt so excited to go on and live my dream,” said Nongdamba Naorem. “Ever since I was a child I wanted to play football and playing at this stage proved that all my sacrifices were worth it.”