Mumbai City FC winger Bipin Singh, who scored a 90th-minute winner in the ISL final against ATK Mohun Bagan, revealed that he didn't have any boots to wear during the early days, so he used to sport any boot lying around before taking the field.
"I didn't have any boots to wear. So I used to grab any boot lying around and wear it myself and run away to play. They were big in size -- huge in fact. And it was quite a challenge to fit into them. But I managed and ran fast. People used to laugh but allowed me to wear them," said Bipin in a statement.
The sole player to have scored a hat-trick in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 has lost count as to how many boots he owns currently. "I have 9 boots," he quips. "No, I have 11, I think," he tries to correct himself. "10 for sure, maybe 12," he stops.
Bipin played an integral part in the AFC Champions League qualification run for his club Mumbai City FC, and that was followed by winning the ISL. A first-time call up to the national team camp followed.
"I was once rejected for U-14 national team trials in Goa. I had dreamt of playing for India but eventually never made the cut. Later, when I saw the junior boys getting that many matches against foreign teams and travelling all over, I felt a bit jealous," he said.
"I have worked very hard for this call-up. I have no words to thank coach Igor Stimac. I need to pay him back, as much I am extremely grateful to my club coach Sergio Lobera for his confidence in me," Bipin added.
Talking about the time when he was rejected in the under-14 category, Bipin said: "That time I wanted to win everything. I felt I could take the ball and get past everyone and score every time I had it at my feet. Nowadays I understand that doesn't happen likewise. Goals are so hard to come."
The winger said his past performance motivates and reminds him of his abilities.
"But all of that is in the past. The match-winner in the final is past tense, so is the hat-trick. It doesn't guarantee me more goals in the future. But yeah, they motivate me -- reminding me of my abilities. But my hardest task lies ahead," he said.
Bipin also revealed he began his love affair with football as a left-back before his coach changed his position.
"I had started playing as a left-back. But my coaches shifted my position and I have continued ever since my Shillong Lajong days. I always get immense joy in running fast. Even in those oversized boots, I used to run past all," he signed off.
( With inputs from ANI )
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