Having scored 6 goals and provided 2 assists in 13 games in his debut season, the Honduran professional Clayvin Julian Zuniga Bernardez has impacted Indian football.
With the crucial match coming up against Punjab FC, Churchill Brother’s number 10 Clayvin Zuniga gave us an insight into his debut season so far, the competitiveness of the I-league, and the struggles he faced as a young footballer trying to make it as a professional.
Talking about his debut Clayvin said “It was a dream debut, full of confidence. It is always important to contribute to the team and I try to do so”, when he scored a hat-trick in 34 minutes, helping his team win the match 2-5 against Indian Arrows, after going down 2-1 in the 22nd minute.
When asked about the competitiveness of the league and the most difficult team he faced, Clayvin said “The most difficult game was the last one, each game is different and there are very good teams, but you have to fight until the end because this is football and there is never anything written in it.”
He also thinks there is not a lot of difference in the competitiveness of games played in the I-league when compared to the ones he played in Spain. He feels the differences are minimal because football is still football in any part of the world and the real differences are “Made by the footballers themselves, with the precision with which they carry out their work.”
Clayvin who plays as an attacking midfielder for Churchill Brothers has always proved to be a very good attacking option for the teams he has played for, with a knack for scoring goals, making decent runs into the opposition’s box, carrying the ball forward, and shooting from range, using his strength to hold the ball and running past defenders at will. He already possesses all the qualities necessary to play as a striker, a winger, or an attacking midfielder.
Clayvin himself believes in this and says he likes to play a lot in the attacking front, occupying the free spaces. He also backs himself to be on the ball and says “I like to face the opposition a lot and always look for the opposition goal because of the confidence my qualities give me.” He is quite comfortable on the ball and likes to drive at defenders. Dribbling is the one specific skill he thinks is his x-factor, which he brings to his attacking forefront.
Clayvin is going to turn thirty soon but still is on top of his game, having shown good strength and pace in the thirteen games he has played for Churchill Brothers this season. He made his debut as a professional footballer in 2011 for Real Club Deportivo Espana, in the Liga Salva Vida, which is the highest division in football in Honduras, his home country. After Real CD Espana, he played for Deportes Savio, then for CD. Real Sociedad and for Municipal Limeno before making his move to the I-league. But, his career growth does not show the true picture of his journey, and the struggles he faced in order to reach where he is today.
He remembers the time he had to leave his mother’s house because he got an opportunity to study and finish his training in another city, where he lived with many young people for whom he used to cook as a group manager, and only after a year he finally got the chance to sign for a team in the first division of Honduras. His mother, his family, and his daughters have been his support system throughout his journey, and his desire to overcome challenges along the way, are the factors that drive him every day to want to continue growing and fighting.
When asked about his experience of India, and what impressed him most about Indian football, Clayvin Zuniga said “I like the country despite not knowing much, the infrastructure they have, the first-class stadiums, and the organizational capacity they have to carry out a tournament in a single city.”
Finally, when asked about his aspirations for next season he said, “I would like to return but we will see what happens in the future.”