By his own admission, CK Vineeth’s always been a deviant of sorts. “I’ve kept my parents on their toes with my antics. It’s something I’m working on changing,” he says, offering a sheepish smile that doesn’t really help his claim. He makes a far more believable statement soon enough though when he attributes ‘maturity’ as the key element he’s added to his game this season that has already seen him score three goals and do enough for opposition coaches to label him a nuisance at post-match press conferences.
“I’ve been trying to do exactly what the gaffer asks of me, which is keeping things simple. A season ago I would have looked to dribble past three even if I had the simpler option of picking a teammate with one touch. But not this season. I’ve learned to pick the best possible option,” says the boy from Kerala.
The statement seems a bold one to make coming from someone who has a penchant for scoring or ever so often attempting to score with the spectacular overhead kick – something he’s managed to do on more than one occasion in the I-League. But he has a special story to tell in this relation. “The overhead kick or the bicycle kick is the single reason I fell in love with football. I saw IM Vijayan score with one when I was a kid and that image hasn’t left my mind since. For me, scoring in football had to be done only like that. I’ve spent hours practicing the art while I was growing up and I can very comfortably say that I can execute it better than most people. If the chance comes, I’ll keep the safer option on hold and go for the spectacular. It’s alright to indulge every now and then!”
A late bloomer when it came to football, Vineeth took the sport while in the 11th grade and the reasons didn’t have anything to do with glory or fame. “I hated studies and football seemed like a great escape, but one that I had to go the whole hog with. My parents, being the wonderful people they are, let me have my way and it feels nice that I am playing the sport at the highest level in the country,” says the wiry striker. Talking parents, Vineeth says he can’t look beyond his father for inspiration, hope or just the hug without reason.
One of the few boys on the team with a hobby, Vineeth can often been seen ambling the streets of the city with his fancy camera in tow. “It lends me a great deal of freshness in terms of the way I look at things and think. I’ve always been attracted to the camera since I was little, asking my father to gift me as many as possible. Back then, whether they were real or fake, it didn’t matter,” he tells. His Instagram account should give you a fairly good idea of how his comfort with lenses and field of depth matches his ease on the ball.
Finally, talk Bengaluru FC and his tone is heavy with gratitude. “I had an offer from Pune and one from Bengaluru FC and to be honest, I went with Bengaluru simply because of the city’s proximity to his parents. My mother had a few health issues and I wanted to be as close to her as possible. But on hindsight, it’s the best decision I’ve taken from a football point of view too. This is the best club in the country and if ever the situation arose, I would wear the BFC shirt for nothing in return,” he says.
For a man with fondness for most things spectacular, that last statement was as simply as he could put it. The change is surely setting in.