The next generation of Indian goalkeepers are going through rigorous tactical, physical, and mental development in the ongoing preparatory camp ahead of the SAFF U-20 Championship in Bhubaneswar which is scheduled to kick-off next week.
The four goalkeepers — Santosh Singh, Syed Zahid Hussain Bukhari, Mohit Singh Dhami, and Som Kumar are sweating it out to make it to the final squad for the tournament.
While all of them have been in the junior national team system for around four years now, the likes of Santosh and Zahid are a part of the majority of players, who have continued with this team after spending the last two seasons with the same group of players at Indian Arrows.
“The Arrows project has made a huge difference to the goalkeepers, especially from a mental aspect,” said goalkeeping coach Abhijit Mondal. “They have come with their respective skills. But to cope with playing at a higher level one needs to develop both physically and mentally. That’s something that they have done over the last two seasons at Arrows, and one can see the difference in their performance now,” Mondal added.
“They struggled in their first season in the Hero I-League. But in the last edition, they have been calmer and more mature. All of that comes with the experience of playing against quality senior opposition,” he continued.
“The best thing that they have learnt is not to be afraid of mistakes. As a goalkeeper, you can make a mistake in the first minute of a match, but you can’t let that affect you. You’ve got to produce those saves for the next 89 minutes.”