Exclusive Interviews Football GoalBold Special

Standing Tall as a Wall : Nishu Kumar’s Exclusive Interview

GoalBold’s friend, Nishu Kumar – Bengaluru FC and India’s young tough shield has made his way against all odds and made a name for himself at a very tender age. The young left back has made an impressive journey from the small town of Muzzafarnagar to playing the AFC Cup Final in Doha!
We bring you the the exciting story of Nishu Kumar as he opens up on his voyage of ups and downs in Indian Football!

1)  Coming from UP, did you ever think that you will reach this far now that you’ve played in AFC Cup finals and playing for one of the most professional club of India?

-“This is really big I had never thought that I could ever reach this far. The only target back then was to play football and actually speaking I had never given a thought of playing for a club.”

2)  How did you start playing football?

– “The craze of football in UP is comparatively low but in Muzaffarnagar, where I come from people play games as per seasons like football for 2-3 months then cricket and also volleyball. There was a football ground near my home where senior players used to play and I liked to see them play. Also, I enjoyed playing and representing my school. Further, when I was in eighth I had made up my mind on staying at a hostel and to join the Lucknow Sports College.” 

Everyone has to make a decision which may turn up to be one of the best decisions of our life, the same happened with Nishu when he was selected for the 1st phase of trials at the Lucknow Sports College but he had to make a choice of either joining Lucknow College or Chandigarh Sports complex because both of the trials had the same date. Fortunately, Nishu made the right choice and instead of listening to all others did according to his inner voice and now for sure has done what many others dream of.

3)  How did you feel when you got a contract with Bengaluru FC? What were the emotions you were going through?

-“It was a real big deal for me, I had never thought that a club as big as Bengaluru FC will ever approach me. I still remember I was sleepless that night. When I came back after giving the trials I wasn’t sure enough but fortunately, I got selected and can’t be any more thankful towards God for that.”

4)  What’s the difference between learning from Westwood and Roca?

– “Every coach has a different way of play. What I noticed the difference is that Ashley Westwood our previous coach had a more defensive and calm type of play whereas on the other hand Albert Roca, likes to play aggressive and push up ahead.” 

5)  When did you decide that you wanted to be a professional footballer?

– “Really speaking, I decided to be a professional footballer when I first got a call from Bengaluru FC and I said to myself that it is the only way forward and this is what I would like to do the rest of my life”  

6)  Did you always get support from your family to keep going and become what you are now? 

– “Actually I hail from a village, the mentality there is a bit different back there though I was never stopped as my dad allowed me to choose any field I wanted and put my best on it. My mother always asked me to stay home and focus on my studies but eventually when she got to know that even a career can be made in football she was one of the first to give a green signal to me”

Not many get the opportunity to come up from a small village to such a high position but what Nishu has done with his aim set high is an inspiration for many and states that if one has his goals set there can be no power in this world that can stop him from achieving what he desires.

7)  Was being a defender your first choice?

– “Many have observed that I play a bit aggressively and yes that is true, I used to play as a striker but maybe after seeing my work in defence in CFA I was first played in a defensive position and since then I also love playing as a defender.”

Playing for Bengaluru, there is no doubt Nishu is exposed to one of the best training facilities that he could get in India & it’s just a matter of time for him to improve a bit enter the senior national team.

8)  Which Indian footballer inspires you the most?

-“Sunil Chhetri is the Indian player who inspires me the most. I learn a lot playing with such a great player. Eugeneson Lyngdoh also inspires me a lot I try to do my best to go on their track.”

9)  What is your dream club you want to play for?

-“Apart from Bengaluru if anyone asks me to choose I will take the name of Dempo and in world football, I currently like Chelsea.”

A lot even at the age of 19 are confused about their future and still lack the decision-making ability which if known in the correct age can make heights of success, on the other hand Nishu is training day and nights to make the dream he saw back in his small village come true.  

10)  You are just 19 and have taken long strides achieving a lot which others just dream of. How do you feel about that?

-“I feel really lucky, it’s a real long run even today when I visit my village people there suggest me to pick up a job but I feel satisfied that I have now reached here and want to keep going without stopping. Without any doubt, I will choose to play as a footballer if I get a chance in the next life.”

11)  Reaching AFC Cup finals was a great accomplishment, though Bengaluru lost in the finals what do you think we lacked in?

-“I don’t think there is a specific reason, the game was evenly distributed even we got the same chances the opponents got maybe because of bad luck we missed it.”

Fans are quoted as the 12th player and no player can ever ignore the importance fans play in any club be it as big as Bengaluru FC or as small as any local club’s success. Nishu is no exception to this and quotes the fans to be one of the reasons he loves Bengaluru FC so much.

12)  What do you have to say about West Block blues?

-“West Block Blues is certainly one of the reasons I love Bengaluru FC so much.Whenever someone thinks of Bengaluru FC maybe the second thought that comes to their mind is the fans. When I signed the thought about being loved by the fans gave me goosebumps. I still remember I used to lag when I first came but after receiving so much love I doubt if any player cannot perform well. It really feels good when we get support from the fans. When I play and receive so much of support it kind of motivates me to keep going and try my heart out and give all the fans a moment of joy” ”

13)  Chandigarh Football Academy is where you started it all. How important a role do you think it played in your life?

– “When I think of my past I worry what would have it been if I had not taken the decision of joining Chandigarh Academy, it was the best for me. Also, the training there was at a good level so now after coming here I never face that the quality is low because we were trained in a proper way at very young ages”  

14)  BFC has a derby sort of affair with Mohun Bagan and Mumbai FC and now against Chennai City FC, people are dubbing it as a Cauvery derby? Is there any additional pressure which players take in these matches? Do fans also play a major part pressurizing players

– “The pressure remains same but what is feel is when playing this kind of matches it feels good and motivated I personally like playing them as they are very interesting to play.”

Every player dreams of representing his national team, carry the entire nation’s dreams on his back and to give in all that is possible to bring in glory for his country same is the case with Nishu.

15)  Do you look forward to representing India at a senior level and what do you aim when you get a chance?

– “It is kind of my primary aim to play at the senior level, I want to be a good fullback for the country so that people remember me as a good player.”

16)  Playing as a defender especially as a left back which Indian defender do you look up to?

– “I like seeing Rahim Nabi and Narayan Das. When I was in U19 I used to look how Narayan Das who is senior to me play, and try to learn it from him” 

17)  What would you be if not a footballer?

– “It’s hard to imagine a life in which I am not a footballer but if asked so I would have gone with the traditional way of my village like studying and maybe becoming an engineer.”

Hailing from a small village, Nishu has made it big came out of the traditional beliefs and took higher steps taking up risks because ultimately risk’s are what make a man reach the pinnacle of success and now after having reached here there is no looking back and on the basis of hard work and perseverance the boy who turned into a man with his bold steps will keep going up ahead without stopping. 

About the author

Pratik Bhangare

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