“The toughest game of my life lasted five months”

Nineteen-Year-Old BFC B Striker Edmund Lalrindika Spoke To Us About His Spell On The Sidelines And What It Taught Him…

Bengaluru FC B may have got off to a winning start in their Puttaiah Memorial Cup campaign but for Naushad Moosa and his boys, the silver lining mattered more than the headline that day; and that was Edmund Lalrindika’s return to action. Back after a long spell on the sidelines, one that he says taught him much, the youngster would go on to make his first start in the Blue Colts’ second fixture, scoring once and winning the penalty for another in a 3-1 win over FC Bengaluru United.

“I got injured in the Super Cup qualifiers in March, while playing for Indian Arrows. I’ve never shied away from fifty-fifty challenges, but I guess it just wasn’t my day then. I snapped my ankle and had a fracture and a ligament injury,” Edmund says with a sheepish smile that hides most of the agony behind his journey since that day.

Edmund spent the most of two months in bed and then three more in the gym before he was allowed to kick a ball again, but the 19-year-old believes that though it was an unfortunate moment, it was a road that was important in his development as a footballer.

“It’s really tough to stay positive when you are injured. While you work yourself back to fitness physically, it tests you mentally and it’s very important for every footballer to go through that. It’s like being 2-0 down in a match; the only option is to keep fighting.”

Having left his home as a 10-year old, Edmund has been away from his family for almost a decade now and he says any other job would have had him running back, but not this one. “I’ve been away for a long time. My father runs a steel fabrication shop and my mother looks after my two elder siblings; a brother and a sister. It’s really tough to be away from them, but I’m doing what I love and being far from them is part of the sacrifice.”

In a journey that’s seen a lot of setbacks, Edmund believes that his lows have always been a pedestal to his highs. “I started playing at a Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in 2008, and when I was just nine years old the Lunglei District Football Association sent me to Aizawl to be a part of the first ever Mizoram U12 team. I was the youngest and had to fight my way in. I played in a tournament in Kolkata later, where I was selected to be a part of the AIFF Regional Academy. Again, I was among the few 1999 born players in a team of 1998 boys. When I played for Indian Arrows, we were a team of young boys coming up against teams that were far more physical and tactically superior. It wasn’t easy running at and trying to beat defenders who are six feet tall. But, all my life I’ve been dealing with situations like that, and I’ve learned a lot from it.”

With the BFC B team bus set to leave after training, Edmund manages to squeeze in one more response before skipping away. “I don’t mind being on the bench or missing a good chance, those are things I can get over, but I hate losing. In the game against FC Bengaluru (United), I missed a penalty and their supporters started jeering me. I told myself then that I had to make things right, and I did. Those five months out were like one big game of football; one of the toughest of my life so far. But I knew I had to win.”

Bengaluru FC B take on the winners of Zone B in their Puttaiah Memorial Cup semifinal, on Wednesday, October 10th.