Bengaluru FC’s Story Has Been Scripted Like A Rollercoaster – Tremendous Highs, Difficult Lows – And Daniel Lalhlimpuia Says He Has Learned From All Of Them…
It is 25th May 2016, a 19-year-old Daniel Lalhlimpuia has joined the Blues squad in Hong Kong to face Kitchee SC, less than two weeks since the passing of his father back home in the small town of Serchhip, in Mizoram. Fifty one minutes on the clock, he intercepts a back-pass, rounds the ’keeper and slots home what was to be the winner, a moment he says nothing will erase.
“Bengaluru FC taught me how to fight. Some of the toughest moments in my life have come at this club, as well as some of my best, and through it all I’ve learned many things. I joined this club as a young boy, and now the time has come for me to leave, and I do not know where to start from,” says Daniel.
With a penchant for scoring important goals, Daniel netted his first for the club in its first ever win over Mumbai FC, one the stands remain forever grateful for.
“That night at the Kanteerava, I was desperate to score. I’d been at the club for close to a year and I knew that though the chances would come more often, I had to make them count as soon as I could. When Vineeth squared the ball to me and I placed it home, I do not have words to explain that moment, I think it was then that my professional career really kicked off,” he says.
For impressive performances with the Blues, Daniel was picked to be a part of India’s squad to take on Puerto Rico in September 2016 and made his debut, coming off the bench for skipper Sunil Chhetri. For all the medals and memories that Bengaluru FC gave him, this is one Daniel wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
“I would be lying if I said I couldn’t thank the club for everything they’ve done for me. They picked me when I was only 18 years old and trusted my abilities. When I had rough patches, they always kept faith. This club has been the journey of my life, in many ways. I’m leaving, yes, but with fond memories and the hope that one day I can come back.”
Before he ends, as more than just an afterthought, Daniel speaks to his biggest source of inspiration, the Blues’ faithful. “The things these fans do to support you – it’s unbelievable. I just want to tell them a very big ‘thank you’, because these are the kind of fans who make a football club successful, the kind that stick around in the good times, and support you harder in the bad times. We played some of the best football this country has ever seen and it’s because of the hard-work and dedication shown by everyone here, including the fans. Keep doing what you do and I will see you all again, very soon!”