It is self-evident to love a wonder kid in Indian Football. Many players managed to make a name for themselves in the recent ISL season. One of those who impressed not only all the Odisha FC fans but also everyone who saw him play is Shubham Sarangi. Shubham is undoubtedly not considered as one of the most skillful Odisha FC defenders but has undoubtedly caught a lot of attention because of his nature to possess such high intelligence and skills. Commonly known as the local Toka by most Odia fans, Shubham has proved himself in the recent season, and there was never any doubt he would get a national team call.
The young Odia player managed to add 28 tackles and 81 interceptions to his name in the recently concluded ISL season. Everyone was excited for Xisco, Santana or Jerry before the season started, but no one can ignore the role Shubham played for his side. There was a lot of buzz among all the Odisha FC fans for Shubham as he was the first Odia player to ever play in ISL, and everyone has to agree to this that, Shubham didn’t let any of them down.
We recently caught up with Shubham to know more about him, and we would like to thank him for giving us his precious time and making the session so memorable for each one of us.
So, here is what the local Toka himself has to say:
Q. Who’s your role model, and how has that person helped you to grow as a player?
My grandfather BK Mahapatra has been my inspiration from the time I started playing football. He also used to play football as a prime, but he wasn’t able to pursue it as a career. He has always supported me, along with my parents, to pursue football as a career. He also makes sure that he’s always there in the Kalinga Stadium to support me whenever I am playing till today regardless of ever problem he’ll be facing.
Q. What pushes you to work hard every day and make yourself a better player?
> As a child, I always dreamt of playing for my national team and also a big European club. I know I need to work hard every day and push myself to be a better player. I know playing for the national team is a long way to go, but I want to push myself and achieve that as well, and one day when I achieve it, I want to set some new goals and give my best every day.
Q. Who has been your idol in the Indian Football Team?
> Obviously, Sunil Chhetri is the one whom I have been admiring the most in the national team, and he has been so consistent over the year, and I’ve met him once when I was a kid and the experience he shared with me that time inspired me so much. He’s the one whom I’ve been idolizing since then.
Q. You’ve played for Odisha FC this season. So what was the role Josep Gombau played to make you a better player?
> He has been coaching for a very long time now, and he knows exactly how to bring the best out of each player. He has played a vital role in my career, and he always had that faith in me. I always made sure that whenever I get a chance, I will push myself to the extreme level, and I feel his football philosophy has helped me to grow as a player.
Q. How was your experience at the Aspire Academy?
I had a great experience there to be very honest. The facilities, grounds and everything there is really up to the mark. I was there for nearly five months, and in those five months, I observed that they focus on the basics of football. According to me, basics are essential for any player who wants to grow as a player and I feel that they have really helped to be a better player.
Q. What was your feeling when you got to know that you’ll be playing for Odisha FC in the ISL 2019-20 season?
> I am from Odisha, and representing Odisha at any level really makes me very proud, and once it was all confirmed, I was so pumped up, and I just wanted to give my best for them.
Q. What were you feeling when you made your debut in ISL?
> I made my debut in ISL in 2018 against Pune City FC, and I came in the dying minutes of the match, and when I came in, I was trying to give my best for my team and do everything possible so that I don’t feel bad about not giving my best after the final whistle and that was a very proud moment for me, and after that match, the coach trusted in me and gave me a chance in the starting 11 in the next game. That’s when I realized that I could do anything if I work hard and capitalize on every opportunity I get.
Q. Who’s the toughest player you’ve played against?
> I think Diego Carlos has got to be the one. He’s skillful, has a lovely turn of pace, and can trick any defender very easily. So I had to be very calm when I played against him.
Q. What would you like to say about Yan Dhanda?
I think he’s one of those guys who’s making Indian proud. He has played for Liverpool at such a young age and also he’s playing for Swansea right now, so that shows the quality he has. I wish him all the very best, and I hope he can play for India very soon and give all the Indian football fans what they have been asking for a very long time now.
Q. If you’re given a chance to play in a European club where you won’t get much playing time, but at the same time, you’re getting a chance to play in an Asian club where you’ll be regularly starting in playing 11. Which club would you choose?
> I think I will be going to a club where I can get the right amount of playing time and where I can develop myself as a player so probably I’ll prefer the Asian club offer.
Q. How do you want the world to remember you after being done with your football career?
> I want to do something big for my country and make each and everyone proud of whatever I do.
The whole IFTWC team would like to wish Shubham Sarangi all the very best for his future, and we hope he makes everyone proud by representing India at the highest level
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