Indian Goalkeepers and Doha: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu continues a proud tradition

With sweat dripping all over, his bandana seemingly disheveled from keeping his hair in check for 90 minutes, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, all tall and majestic, sipping water, headed back to the dressing room.

Abdelkarim Hassan, Qatar’s world class wing-back came up, and patted Gurpreet. “You should be playing in the Premier League – you are good enough. What are you doing here?” Abdelkarim, who had been foiled time and again by Gurpreet during the match, rhetorically asked. There were smiles all around.

But it came with a warning. “The next time we play again, I will score past you,” he quipped.

“I will do my job,” Gurpreet smiled back.

“Great job man. You are too good,” Abdelkarim waved, and made his way to his dressing room.

“I have had good outings. But I’ve never had an opposition team player come to me and say that I am good enough to play in a big league. That’s a huge compliment,” Gurpreet murmured.

The love-affair of Indian goalkeepers at the magnificent Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha continues. It was here that in 2011 in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 that Subrata Paul’s heroics earned him the nickname ‘Spiderman’. And it was here that in September 2019, Gurpreet led from the front to thwart Qatar without conceding any.

A trip down the memory lane will make you remember that in 2011, it was Mark Schwarzer, the then Australian National Team goalkeeper, playing for Fulham who had knocked at the Indian team’s dressing room to meet Subrata and eventually exchange jerseys, an appreciation to Subrata’s performance on that day.

Rival coach Felix Sanchez felt India were a “difficult team to beat”.

“We generated around 25 shots in the match and the goalkeeper played a great game once again. He was very good under the bar and made a huge difference. The next time we play again, we will not allow him to be at his best,” Sanchez’s appreciation came for Gurpreet.

“I didn’t count the number of saves. But I feel it was more than the last time. We played with 10-men for most part of the match. But we had our chances too,” Gurpreet opined. “Against such quality opposition like Qatar such chances come very rare. We need to take them.”

Back in Kolkata, ‘Spiderman’ Subrata Paul laughed when reminded about his exploits in the 2011 Asian Cup at the same ground. “That was a decade back,” he quipped. “I need to hug Gurpreet for the manner in which he came out with such flying colours. When a rival team is attacking relentlessly, it’s easy to lose concentration for that split second. But he is my special boy,” maintained the ‘Spiderman’. “In fact, the fighting spirit on display by the entire squad is commendable. Everyone played their hearts out.”

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Meanwhile, the morning after, the boys gear up for the next challenge – Bangladesh. The morning screening process is on and the squad will be split into two batches for the recovery sessions. Right from debutant Glan Martins to Suresh Singh to Abdul Sahal to Lallianzuala Chhangte to Manvir Singh and all the rest – the Blue Tigers stay united, and focussed.

‘Ironman’ Sandesh Jhingan, fearless as ever on the field, immune to taking blows all over, expressed that “we need to remember that despite all the fight put up by 10-men, we couldn’t garner a point”.

“Life in football is harsh. We still haven’t opened our account in Doha. We need to focus on the next one and then the next one,” he expressed.

India’s next opponents Bangladesh put up a spirited display against Afghanistan, coming back from behind to pull off a 1-1 draw. India play the Bangla Tigers next on June 7.



For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

Also Read: 10-man India go down to Asian champions Qatar

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian football

Footie First to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division team

Footie first will be conducting trials for its first team which will play in the MFA 2nd Division 2021-22 season. While the club has definitely set standards by winning the…


Companeroes SC to conduct trials for MDFA 1st Division Campaign

Mumbai based MDFA 1st division side Companeroes Sports Club will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2021-22 season. Players interested in appearing for the trials must have prior experience…


Madanpura FA, Sara FA to host trials for the upcoming MDFA season

Sara Football Academy and Madanpura FA to host trials for MDFA Super division & 2nd division and 3rd division respectively on the 30th August 2021. Sara FA will be hosting…


Mumbai Ultras FC invites all aspiring footballers for a trial

Mumbai Ultras FC is organising their trials for the upcoming season. The Mumbai Ultras play in the MDFA Super Division. The team is focused on the holistic aspects such as…


Oscar SSE to conduct trials for multiple age-groups in Mumbai

Mumbai based Oscar SSE will conduct trials for their youth teams on 17th April at the Karnatak Sports Association ground. Oscar SSE is a 2-star AIFF Accredited Academy plying their…


FC Hydra invites all aspiring footballers in Bengaluru for a Trial

FC Hydra will be holding trials for all the aspiring footballers for the upcoming KSFA C Division League. The club has previously held trials for the Women’s team for the…


Kenkre FC to conduct trials for Women’s Team

Mumbai-based Kenkre FC are slated to conduct trials for their Women’s Football Team on the 25th of February at Goan’s Sports Ground in Churchgate. Kenkre FC have long been regarded…


IKF to dispense free international football exposure for children in India

India Khelo Football (IKF) is a non-profit platform aimed at providing kids from India a fair chance to pursue their dream of playing football internationally. IKF shares its vision to…


IDBI Bank to hold trials for a central defender

After successfully conducting their first round of trials on 21st November, MDFA Super Division outfit are now looking to conduct another trial in search of Central Defenders. With football resuming,…


Chedda Nagar FC set to conduct trials for MDFA Super Division

Chedda Nagar Football Fanatics will be conducting trials to reform their MDFA Super Division squad. Being established in 2011, Chedda Nagar is a renowned name in Mumbai football. The team…