New Delhi, Oct 26 : Hero I-League champions 2017-18 Punjab FC will definitely be a force to reckon within the latest edition of the championship and one of the players to keep an eye out for will be young Thoiba Singh Moirangthem, who is already making waves with his performances at just 16.
He was a part of the India U-16 team that reached the quarterfinals of the AFC U16 Championships last year in Malaysia and the side that lifted the SAFF U18 Championship 2019 in September.
At the domestic level, he made his professional debut with Punjab FC in the Hero I-League 2018/19 against the Indian Arrows at only 15-years old and went on to make seven league appearances in the season.
“Playing in the I-League was a phenomenal experience,” he told www.i-league.org, before adding, “I learned a lot from it and it has made me a better player for sure.”
“Senior players such as Al Amna (Mahmoud) helped me a lot. They shared their experience and guided me on how to play on the field, keep myself fit and develop as a player. Sachin sir (former Minerva coach Sachin Badadhe) also taught me a great deal in terms of tactics and gave me the confidence to play my game.”
Thoiba, who can play in defence as well as a defensive midfielder, stood toe-to-toe against seasoned veterans in the competition and stated that he relishes such battles against physically stronger rivals.
By virtue of their I-League title victory in 2018, Punjab FC represented India in the AFC Champions League playoff and AFC Cup in the 2018/19 season – with Thoiba featuring in all the games. He also found the net against Nepal side Manang Marshyangdi, making him the youngest scorer in the competition’s history.
Talking about the experience of playing at the continental level, he said, “It was a great feeling. We were representing India – not just our club. Travelling to Iran, Nepal and Bangladesh, and playing there was an incredible learning experience – especially at such a young age.”
“I am looking forward to the start of the new season. The whole team is motivated to do well,” he concluded.(UNI)