If given a chance to re-write history, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam probably would not. That bullet header in the 82nd minute against Colombia in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 made him the first Indian goal-scorer in a FIFA World Cup.
If given a chance to feel the same way after he felt after that thumping header, Jeakson Singh probably would.
“If the Indian U-16 National Team qualifies for the FIFA U-17 World Cup I will feel the same way I did when I scored that header,” an elated Jeakson says from Croatia. “The team has the potential to do so. They are more than capable of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup and making it a historic moment for everyone associated with Indian Football.”
No Indian team has ever qualified for the FIFA World Cup keeping aside the virtue of being hosts. The Indian U-16 National Team, which will participate in the AFC U-16 Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, aims to be the first.
For Jeakson, it is a chance to relive moments on the field. “I cherish their performance and the team gives me hope for the future of Indian Football. They make me feel like I am 16 again and the world is at my feet.”
“Every goal that they have scored feels like we have scored. After-all it is India we are representing and I wish my brothers all the best in the AFC U-16 Championship.”
“Give it your all boys, the whole nation is behind you. You are capable enough to perform on the field of play. Just believe in yourself and fight till the very end,” he says in a message.
“I wish I was a part of the team as well. I wish I could write my name in history once more,” an emotional Jeakson adds.
Fate has other plans for Jeakson, but the midfielder spares serious thought to the challenge that the Indian U-16s will face in the Championship.
“Every team will play to win. Every team will be difficult to face and difficult to beat. But if we make it out of the group stages and enter the quarter-finals, anything can happen. I have crossed my fingers and praying constantly that we qualify for the FIFA World Cup.”
Four semi-finalists from the AFC U-16 Championship qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. With semi-finals not a distant dream for the Indian side, perhaps history can be written, but without Jeakson this time.
Jeakson, however, has no complaints.