With the I-League Qualifiers 2020 having kicked-off with two matches on the opening day, ARA FC, the fifth team in the competition eagerly waits to kick-start their campaign.
ARA FC, who were the first club from Ahmedabad to participate in the Second Division League last season, will be taking the field against traditional heavyweights from Kolkata, Mohammedan Sporting at the Saltlake Stadium on Sunday, October 11.
ARA FC’s versatile defensive player Prabin Tigga believes that the onus will remain on Mohammedan Sporting as we head into Match day 2 of the first sporting event to be held in India after the COVID-19-induced Lockdown.
“” think all the pressure will be on Mohammedan Sporting this time. They are on their home turf. Their fans may not be in the stands but as one of the heavyweights in Kolkata, everyone expects them to beat us on the day,” Tigga said.
“They have been trying to get back in the I-League for quite a few years now. I feel they will feel the pressure because of this. I feel that this is a good opportunity for us to play against them, as we can capitalise on this situation and get the result that we want,” he continued.
FROM STICKS TO BOOTS
Having grown up in Rourkela, Odisha, Prabin Tigga had actually started off playing two similar sports in his earlier days – football and hockey. However, as he progressed down the line, the young Tigga decided to pick up his boots.
“Hockey is an extremely popular sport back in Odisha. We all grew up playing it. It’s like how in the rest of India everyone grows up playing cricket,” said Tigga. “But somewhere down the line football interested me more.”
Having played as a defender in both the sports, Tigga feels that football is a sport that requires a lot more calculations with regards to off the ball positioning.
“In hockey, defence was a lot about transition, and I feel that this is one aspect that I have been able to bring to my game in football,” he said. “But off-the-ball positioning is much more important in football. Whether it is your teammates who have the ball, or whether it’s your opponents — it’s always important.”
“You may be quite far from the ball on the pitch but your position could still determine the next course of action in the game, and that is why I felt that football was more of a sport that was to my liking,” Tigga continued.
In fact, Tigga mentioned that his late father was not too happy with his decision to pursue football in the beginning. However, it took just one game to turn such perceptions around.
“My father did not like it at first, but then he once came to see me play in a local tournament, and that was the moment when he changed his mind, after seeing me play,” Tigga mentioned.
The youngster who had earlier played for Bengaluru FC U-18s and Chennaiyin FC Reserves, feels that his father, who passed away four years back, would have been proud, had he been alive today to see his son being able to feed his family playing football.
“I do wish he had been alive today. He may not have at first believed that I could have earned a steady living through football, but I believe that were he to see me now, he would have been convinced that Indian football is indeed moving forward,” he said.