‘What’s Wrong with the Flash?‘, ‘Was this lad overhyped?‘, ‘Oh his days are over!‘, ‘Is this the same guy we saw few months back?‘, ‘Is he really the Flash?‘, ‘Arghh whats wrong with this guy?‘.
Over the last few months there has been questions raining about what’s wrong with our very own – “The Flash”. Yes, we are talking about Udanta Singh. For a moment let’s stop the random questioning and blame games, and take a moment to think, because judging is easy but there’s more to it.
BACKSTORY OF “THE FLASH”
Let’s start with the History. Yeah, history is boring, but who wouldn’t like to know the back story of our very own FLASH aka UDANTA SINGH KUMAM. Born on 14th of June 1996, 23 year old Udanta Singh is considered to be one of the fastest footballers in India right now. Udanta at the moment, is a very popular face in Indian Football and is immensely loved by West Block Blues- the official fan group of Bengaluru FC.
From the assist in the first away bout of the AFC Asia Cup 2019 Qualifiers, to the assist in a 4-1 victory against Thailand in the first match of AFC Asia Cup 2019; the winger from Manipur is very well known for his pace and attacking abilities all over the Country.
Udanta started his career from the Tata Football Academy(TFA) in the year 2010. From his childhood only, the Manipuri winger had a flair of pace and aggression in his game. He ended his stint at TFA after helping his team cruise through the 2014 U-19 I-League as the champions. Udanta was even adjudged as the TOP SCORER of the Tournament with 9 Goals to his name. Surprisingly enough Udanta was a prolific striker back then, who was given ample freedom in the final third of the pitch.
RISE TO THE GLORY
The youngster then went on to join the 2013-14 Hero I-League Champions, Bengaluru FC and since then, there has been no looking back for him . He became the youngest Indian goalscorer as well as the youngest Indian assist provider in any AFC competition. Udanta also donned Mumbai City colours in the Hero ISL 2015-16 , on loan from Bengaluru for a short stint after which he was back to BFC.
The Manipuri sensation became an integral part of the successful journey that Bengaluru FC has had till now, where he has 2 Federation Cup titles, 1 Hero I-League Title, 1 Hero ISL Title, and 1 Super Cup Title added to his feather, in only 6years of asking, with his club.
Udanta was not only impressive at club level but has also been a cruicial part of the Indian National Team. Udanta Singh donned the National Colours for the first time in 2013, for the India U-19 in the AFC U-19 Championship Qualification, where he started all 4 games and also scored his maiden International goal against the Turkmenistan U-19 side. He also represented the U-23 Indian National Team in 2016 where he scored 3 goals in 4 matches he had played, before finally getting a Senior National Team call. He got his debut in the same year, on 24th March 2016, against Iran in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier match and similar to his club stint, never looked back thereafter.
But suddenly, what has happened to the boy who has got a great lot of appreciation and admiration from the entire nation?
THE FALL- ‘LOSS OF POWER’
Everything was going right for The Flash, until the AFC Asian Cup 2019 in the beginning of the year. Udanta had a terrific season for Bengaluru in the 2018-19 ISL Season, where BFC emerged as Champions, and Udanta ended the tournament 5 Goals and 3 Assists to his name. He even started the Asian Cup with an assist on India’s very first match, where we registered a historic 4-1 victory against Thailand. But since then it has been a goal drought for the Flash since almost over an year now.
Udanta has managed to score only 1 goal for BFC in the entire ISL 2019-20 season. Not only goals but even assists have dried up as Udanta ended the season with not even a single assist to show. Not only his stats, but his performance has suffered a huge dip recently, which eventually resulted in him being dropped from the first 11. One would have presumed that it was a much needed break to the youngster, but it was not to be as he was benched in the crucial games as well. Overall these poor performances has been the root of all the questions and criticism.
THE ANSWER- CAN THE FLASH REGAIN HIS POWER ?
Well, so lets get on to analyzing the entire situation. Here comes a question that, after so many good performances, is one poor season enough to term a young footballer as ‘over’?
Definitely not. Now, some might say, ‘But he isn’t performing well .. what’s wrong with him!‘ To them I would like to suggest may be patience is the answer? Well maybe it’s not the only answer, but it’s definitely one of the answers. Every athlete has good phase and bad phases in their life. Interestingly, our FLASH aka UDANTA SINGH KUMAM is still, only 23 Years old. Yes, the pacy winger from Manipur is only 23 years old right now and has already reached heights in his career. During his initial years Udanta’s expected graph has been much higher than the normal. It was always a matter of time where his expected performance would have dipped -catching up with the “Law of Average” . Who knows if our beloved Udanta Singh is facing the same problem. May be its just an off phase in his career, and as we all know the popular saying “Form is Temporary, but Class is Permanent”. All we can do as an Indian Football fan, is support him in this situation. We call him THE FLASH, right? Well people who follow superheroes surely know how THE FLASH lost his powers, in a “Loss-of-Powers” episode in the first part of its first season!
If a superhero like Flash could lose is super powers, there’s no reason to think that a player won’t go through off-forms in his career. Well, The Flash got back his powers soon, and we hope our Flash gets his form back too.
IS IT ONLY THE OFF PHASE?
But it’s definitely not only about the off-phase. Udanta have lacked a certain element in his game for the past year and a half and that’s the “modulation in his gameplay” . Udanta has already provided many crucial assists and put in a lot of match winning efforts for his team and is always known to storm through the sidelines; beating the defenders with sheer pace after a deft touch. He is a player who likes a have a lot of space in the right hand side of the attack. But strangely enough, for a person like Udanta who has played as a striker in his early career, he rarely ventures into cutting back through the centre of the pitch and exploiting the option of switching. This might be a result of working in a rigid system where he hardly gets any freedom upfront. But one might be right to think that the FLASH is missing the surprising element that can make up for his loss of form lately.
IS HE SUSCEPTABLE TO PRESSURE?
But then again Udanta has no one to blame but himself. There has been several instances in the past where he has been guilty of either overdoing or under-doing than what is expected from him. His finishing seems to be a tad too worse from the other wingers; which can be validated from the instances where he stops himself from shooting at the goalsight and instead passes on to his fellow strikers. Now that there are stiff competition from the other wingers of his age like Jerry, Redeem Talang, Jackichand Singh and, for a matter of fact, the rejuvinated Prabir Das- these mistakes have intensified. It seems like the FLASH is reeling under a lot of pressure when he is going inside the field. And this again is a worrying sight for his lovers, as many might have quipped that instead of battling the ghost of the field, he needs to win the battle of his head.
But as our captain, leader, legend- Sunil Chhetri has said in one of his interviews that, “Udanta is still young and has time to improve his game more. He’s already called the flash, and imagine what’s waiting in the coming 2-3 years from this lad.”, and guess what- the Captain never says wrong.
We all know the potential Udanta holds and that’s the reason behind so much talks lately.
Udanta Singh, as we all know has a huge potential as there are very little to doubt his abilities. It’s just a matter of time before he finally comes into his own, fighting off the demons inside and outside of his head. Bad time comes, bad times go. But the talent inside, will always remain the same. We all know the words, “If Winter is here, can spring be far behind?”. May be something big is awaiting his way as the pundits have often claimed. We will wait till then, for THE FLASH to return, overwhelming the fans and making haters eat their own words.
But before that the lad from Manipur has to take a leaf out of his childhood and enjoy the game to fight off his demons.
And to the question at the beginning, ‘Are his days over?’. Nope, its just the beginning.