IFTWC caught up with Sriram Boopathi for a little chat on Sunday. We present to you all he had to say about his move to Sreenidi Deccan FC, switching from cricket to football, thoughts on his favourite club, and more!
The 27-year-old former Chennai City FC player opened up about the move to SDFC and said, “I liked their provision for their future projects. They are explaining everything – the future plans to everyone. So there is transparency and I liked that. So I signed for Sreenidi.”
Boopathi had attracted interest from ISL clubs but still chose to stay in the I-League. We learned of the reason behind this decision in his own words.
“From my perspective, I have to learn a lot in football. I like the coach here – Santiago. I like his formations and techniques, everything. So I want to learn many things from him.”
“Everything (team environment) is good now. All players are good. We don’t know which eleven are going to start, who is going to be in the first team. Everyone is fighting so the environment is too good to develop. So everyone is fighting for a better position.”
On being asked about what it is like to train under someone like Santiago Varela, Sriram said –
“It’s very good. He knows many things so he’s trying to develop every single player on the pitch. He has every single person on mind. Now we are 28-30, for every person he has a separate plan – how to develop them to the next level. He’s good, he’s quite good.”
What is the target for Sreenidhi this year and what are the targets set by the coach this season?
“Actually we are preparing well now. We are trying our best. We want to give a good fight to all the top teams. We’ll see.”
During his time at the Chennai club, Sriram took part in the AFC tournaments.
“Actually AFC, the level from I-League and ISL to AFC is too big. The standard of football is very high and we want to develop everything for AFC”
You suffered a collar bone injury, just as you had started playing for Chennai City FC’s first team and you said that that was a very difficult period in your professional life. So can you talk us through your physical and mental recovery process during that time and also what helped you stay motivated for a comeback?
“Yeah, it’s right that it was the most difficult time in my professional period. When I started playing for the main 11 I got injured after the third match. That was a very disappointing one. And for the first few days, I was really very disappointed with the injury. Then Akbar Nawas came and asked how I was doing and when I would be back, how long would it take to recover…. he said I could take time so that they could have me in the future. He said “you will be in the team” on an indirect basis.”
“I kept his word in my mind and followed proper rehabilitation from the team. They had taken good care of me. There was a schedule and they did everything for me. They had a special rehabilitation center for me. All this and his words motivated me to be in the same mind.”
Sriram was a cricket player during his school days. On being asked what caused the transition from cricket to football, this is what he had to say.
“It’s a funny story. In school, we used to play cricket a lot. One day our seniors had a fight on the cricket ground. They used the stump to hit others. So in my school, they blocked cricket and the cricket ground changed into a football ground. That’s when we changed to football. We had to play football in our free time, in the evenings. This is how my friends and I changed from cricket to football.”
Sriram is an ardent supporter of Spanish team FC Barcelona.
“From the first very moment I watched football on TV, it was FC Barcelona. I saw them playing and from that moment I loved them… I don’t know what made me follow them but I love the club. It’s from the heart.”
Speaking about his aims for the future, Boopathi said, “My next plan is playing in the ISL. I want to learn as much as I can from the I-league, then I can do better in ISL. I want to know better in basics.”
Sriram Boopathi’s message to SDFC fans –
“Their support is really needed because we are a new club. We will go through ups and downs. We need their support in our ups and downs because that will be the motivating factor for us to win the upcoming I-League for which we will try our best.”
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