Gurpreet Singh Sandhu the Indian National Team and Bengaluru FC custodian, shared his candid memories as we took a lookback at Gurpreet’s journey so far in our last Instagram live session. We were very fortunate enough to host the great wall of India on IFTWC. It was rather a privilege to get the first hand inputs from the man himself.
When asked about his stint in Norway with the Stabaek FC, Gurpreet affirmed that indeed it was the most important move of his career. He further added, “That journey of three years in Norway, made me who I am today.” He also quoted that the move abroad taught him how to be independent, abiding with values and dignity. These particular attributes were missing and honing them have definitely made Gurpreet a better iteration of his teenage self.
“The Norwegian experience opened my eyes towards how football works in Europe; be it at the smaller or the bigger scale. It helped me become a good professional. Even though I made mistakes it taught me how to bounce back and work harder for certain things and how not to take things for granted.”
Gurpreet also shared an anecdote how spontaneous the things were back then, “I went there for a trial and carried just a small hand bag and a trolley bag with me. I had informed East Bengal FC and Bengaluru FC about my willingness to give a try out at Norway and if things dont pan out in favour, I will happily come back and consider all the options. As I went there, a week passed followed by another, and I came back home after 7 months! (after a season)”
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu at Stabaek FC
The shotstopper plied his trade with Stabaek FC for 3 years between 2014-2017 where he made his maiden appearance in the Europa League. He played against the Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads FC, where an unfortunate hand injury declined him from continuing in the tournament.
After being asked about the lack of gametime and what motivated him throughout his journey at the aforementioned club, Gupreet Singh Sandhu had to say, “Firstly, being a Goalkeeper, one doesn’t get as much gametime as for an outfield player. I can’t just go on the pitch for 5 minutes being substituted in for a tired player. As a Goalkeeper you only get the chance when the other guy had a bad series of games or is having an injury.” He later added, “Unfortunately I was facing my biggest and strongest competition (also my best friend) at Stabaek which was Sayouba Mandé who was Ivory Coast National Team’s goalkeeper. To be able to make him sit on the bench was not a walk in the park.”
On being asked about whether this kind of healthy competition helped him to improve, Gurpreet agreed unanimously by saying, “If he (Sayouba Mande) wasn’t there, I don’t think that hunger of going every single day on the pitch to work harder and become better would be there. (In fact) It’s still there now because of the experience and the competition.”
Indeed Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has come a long way in his career, right from debuting for East Bengal FC to winning the Indian Super League with Bengaluru FC after returning from a long stint abroad. We wish the Indian team goalminder the very best for all of his upcoming challenges and hope he acheives all the success the universe has to offer.
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