Tag: Jitendra Singh

I Wasn’t Aware That I’m The Youngest Goalscorer: Jitendra Singh

NEW DELHI: 16 years, 6 months and 13 days old defender Jitendra Singh became the youngest goalscorer in I-League when he scored for AIFF’s developmental team Indian Arrows against Shillong Lajong FC in their last match of the Hero I-League, a day after Christmas, a match which the Arrows eventually won 3-0.

Life hasn’t been the same for the sturdy defender since the FIFA U-17 World Cup and moments in I-League has provided Jitendra with ‘impeccable memories’, which he shares in an exclusive interview with the-aiff.com. EXCERPTS:

How does it feel to be the youngest goalscorer in the I-League?

Am I the youngest? I am not aware of that (smiles).

It is every player’s dream to score a goal. I was just in the right place to slot the ball home (against Shillong Lajong) and I did not even think about being the youngest goalscorer at that moment as I was doing my duty for the team.

It feels special to have my name in the record books but I am focused on my job which is to defend and contribute. Goals for defenders are rare and I am happy that I was able to score my first.

How has life been in I-League?

The I-League has been very challenging as it is the football of the next level when we play against some of the best club teams in the Country. Given the potential of players on the pitch, anything can happen at any given time and we need to be constantly on our toes and stay focused. Life has been tough in I-League but as they say – when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Is it hard defending against physically stronger opponents?

Defending against physical opponents is tough but that seldom enters my brain when I am on the pitch. It rarely affects me because when we step out into the arena the only goal is to give our all.

What has been the importance of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in your career?

We faced tough sides in USA, Colombia and Ghana and that helped in my progression as a defender. As a team, we developed more chemistry and more bonding with each other. The FIFA World Cup was a dream come true for me personally and I revere every second spent on the pitch in the mega event.

How helpful was it?

We learnt from our mistakes in the FIFA World Cup and we learnt how not to commit the mistake twice and that has helped us in our transition in I-League. We try to learn every day in training and try to be the best version of ourselves when we play in I-League.

I-League 2017/18: Arrows blank 10-man Lajong to bounce back to winning ways

NEW DELHI: Indian Arrows blank Shillong Lajong FC 3-0 in an I-League 2017/18 encounter at Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon.

Jitendra Singh’s (19th) goal gave Arrows a 1-0 lead at interval, before second-half substitutes Nongdamba Naorem (86th) and Rahul Balan’s (90+1st) late goals secured full three points for Arrows. But it might well have been a different story had Lajong taken their chances, particularly in the first-half.

The win lifted Arrows to sixth place in the league table with 6 points from 5 matches, while Lajong remained on fourth position with 10 points from 7 games.

Arrows went into the match with Assistant Coach Flyod Pinto in charge while Head Coach Luis Norton de Matos is away on Christmas vacation.

The game started brightly with the visitors seeing little of the ball in the opening exchanges. Arrows looked dangerous when came forward, looking extremely fluid in their movement and especially when they attacked down the flanks, but they failed to make enough chances in front of goal as the final pass always lacked the necessary quality.

After a number of missed half chances, a perfect opportunity fell for Abhijit Sarkar in the 13th minute, but the midfielder missed from inside the area, after Jeakson Singh delivered a neat cross into his path.

Six minutes later, Arrows grabbed the lead when Jitendra found the back of the net from Rahim Ali’s pass to give the hosts a well deserved lead.

Arrows, who came into the match on the back of three successive defeats, could not have asked for a better start.

The visitors, though, went in immediate search of parity with Abdoulaye Koffi and Abdullah Al Hagri forcing Arrows custodian Dheeraj Singh into successive saves at the other end of the pitch.

However, it was Arrows who went closest to the next goal with Rahim squandering a golden chance to double the hosts’ lead. The striker denied by Lajong keeper Phurba Tempa Lachenpa who made a brilliant save.

Late in the first-half, Lajong came close to pulling level when Koffi got on the end of a pin-point cross by Samuel Lalmuanpuia, but his resulting header went wide of the target following a period of sustained pressure.

Arrows did just about enough to hold a 1-0 lead at the break.

The hosts began the second half brightly like they did the first, with a goal beckoning from every move.

With Arrows pushing for a second goal, skipper Amarjit Singh came close to finding the back of the net, but his attempt failed to hit the target in the 54th minute.

Eager not to lose two games in succession, Lajong tried to push men forward in search for the equalizer, but passing in the final third was poor and chances on goal were hard to come by.

Lajong pushed the self destruct button in the 61st minute when substitute Lalrohlua received his marching orders for a needless challenge on Ninthoinganba Meetei.

Arrows used their extra man to good advantage with waves of attacks being launched at Phurba Tempa Lachenpa’s goal.

With Arrows piling on the pressure and using their extra man to their benefit, it was obvious that Lajong would struggle to hold out the tide of blue jerseys that were swamping their penalty area.

Naorem dribbled his way past five Lajong defenders before finishing off the move with a brilliant strike into the bottom right to make it 2-0 in the 86th minute.

Then Rahul rounded off the scoring in stoppage time from Rahim’s pass.

U-17 World Cup: India go down fighting to USA

NEW DELHI: October 06, 2017 marked a historic moment in Indian football’s history as the Indian U-17 National Team became the first ever Indian participant in a FIFA Tournament, the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

In their Group A opener of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Capital, the Indian U-17s faced USA and went down 0-3, in attendance of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, AFC President Sheikh Salman bin-Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and the President of AIFF Praful Patel.

A Josh Sargent penalty in the 30th minute, a Chris Durkin strike in the 51st minute and a Andrew Carleton counter in the 84th minute sealed the match for the opponents, as India succumbed to a hard-fought defeat.

Playing any FIFA Tournament for the first time, the young colts soaked the American pressure. In the 5th minute goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh was forced into a save to keep the Americans at bay. A minute later however, with the crowd spurred, forward Aniket Jadhav ran onto a vacant left flank leaving two American defenders in his stride. Aniket, however cut inside and shot a little over the goal as India strived to get a feel of their opponents.

Busy shifts from Rahul K.P and Ninthoi on the right flank kept Tim Weah quiet, while the pairing of Jitendra Singh and Anwar Ali dealt with Josh Sargent. In the 24th minute, Aniket Jadhav earned a corner kick for India, but Sanjeev Stalin’s delivery was met with a fury of American headers to clear away the ball.

In the 30th minute, USA were awarded a penalty and Sargent scored from the spot to give the opponents the lead. Nine minutes later, Aniket Jadhav once again burst into the box in hopes of equalizing, but his cross was cut short by the American defense line. Apart from a 5th minute save and a penalty kick, USA did not materialize much in attack, still, Sargent’s goal meant that the Americans led 1-0 at half-time.

Changing over, the Indian Colts attacked from the early minutes of the second half. Suresh’s pass found Ninthoi on the flank who targeted the goal, but could only shoot at the American defence line. In the 51st minute, Chris Durkin’s shot from inside the box took a wicked deflection leaving Dheeraj bewildered as USA doubled their lead.

Five minutes later, Komal Thatal was released onto goal but Thatal could only help the ball over the bar as India hunted to close down the deficit.

Anwar Ali had the next opportunity but he couldn’t connect with the header in the 64th minute. Matos reverted to a double change soon after with Rahim Ali and Naorem being brought on for Abhijit and Ninthoi respectively with 20 minutes still left on the clock.

In the 84th minute Anwar Ali had the best chance of the night for India but his powerful shot came off the crossbar and as luck would have it Andrew Carleton scored on the counter to net their third of the night.

India next face Colombia in an 8pm kickoff on October 9 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi.

Photo By: Susmit Kar