Two-time Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC associated with Indian Institute of Technology’s (IIT) annual cultural fest – Saarang 2020 – as their official Sports Talent Sponsor. Held from January 8-12, 2020, Saarang boasts an array of cultural competitions and performances and is attended by students from around the country.
As part of the association, Chennaiyin FC stars Jeje Lalpekhlua, Lucian Goian and Lallianzuala Chhangte attended Saarang 2020s flagship ‘Spotlight’ lecture series. In the interactive session, they shared highlights on their early days, Indian football, youth development, Chennaiyin FC experience and much more.
“Indian football is making progress; you can go back and see some quality goals that have been scored in the ISL and they aren’t much different from the top-level Premier League. There are some good coaches that have come in and are trying to improve the level of the local players. The game against Qatar also showed that India can play against a good opponent and I see a good future for Indian football,” said the experienced CFC skipper Goian.
Jeje, who is currently sidelined owing to his recovery from a knee injury, reminisced over how he always dreamed to play at the top level and represent the country. “When as a kid I joined the India U-19 camp, my dream was to play for my country and from that day I have been working really hard. If you have a dream, just go for it but you need to work hard and put in your everything and believe in yourself,” said the Mizo sniper.
Another Mizo sensation, Chhangte, was overwhelmed by the crowd who all looked up to a young player like him coming up the ranks. “I can’t ask for more, I am lucky enough to be a part of the national team. I made my debut at 18 and looking back from where I started to now it is a huge difference. I had the opportunity and I took it up and I am working every day to become a better player,” he said.
The players also participated in a fun session wherein they looked back at some of the iconic moments from their career and relived the same. It was a memorable and inspiring experience for the kids in the crowd. And the event concluded with a photo-op and autograph session with the players.
Saarang has been a great platform for students to showcase their talents in music, arts, craft, design, gaming, debating, writing, quizzing and many other competitions. Saarang has also seen many famous and notable people take stage and address the gathering.
Saarang also runs a social campaign every year; their goal this year being to create an impact with their Learning and Education Accessibility Project (LEAP). The aim is to close the gap between educational resources and the children deprived of them and empower the underprivileged by spreading awareness.