Dreamy-eyed youngsters -- some of them first-timers in a senior India national team camp -- sounded ecstatic on finding their names in Igor Stimac's list of 35 probables for India's forthcoming international friendlies against Oman and UAE, both of which are scheduled to be played in Dubai on March 25 and 29 respectively.
However, none of them are willing to bask in glory despite being named in the list of 35 probables. Rather, they wish to stay humble and concentrate on the bigger task ahead -- training harder in their quest to get into the final squad, and eventually make a debut for the country.
Hyderabad FC defender Akash Mishra stated that "being selected by the national coach" is a "huge motivation".
"I need to thank Igor Stimac for finding me good enough to be in the camp. But this call up comes with extra responsibility for me to not let him down. It will be the best day of my life if I get to wear the national jersey. But it's still far away. I need to keep working harder and not think about it much. If I am good enough, I will get a chance," Mishra, an ex-Indian Arrows cadet expressed.
North East United FC's midfielder Lalengmawia -- also a former Indian Arrows cadet -- feels that he has "got a step closer to achieving his dream."
"The call-up is one of the best things which has happened to me. But I haven't achieved anything as yet. There is still a long way to go. My dream is to represent my country and I can go to any extent to get it fulfilled. Thank you coach for your trust in me," he quipped.
Kerala Blasters midfielder Jeakson Singh, best remembered as India's goal-scorer at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, uttered that the call up is a "unique gift which excites him to massively improve as a player."
"I am extremely excited. This allows me an opportunity to fulfil my dream of not just playing for my country but excelling at it. I am extremely grateful to coach Stimac for naming me on the list. I love challenging myself, and it is time to work the hardest in my life. I cannot let this slip at any cost," he said in one breath.
FC Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh hoped he can "grow as a player from hereon."
"This call-up is very encouraging for me. The camp provides me with an opportunity to train with the best and learn from the best. I need to constantly keep pushing myself to achieve my dream of playing for my country. I understand this is just my first step. A big thank you to coach for having faith in me," he said.
Another FC Goa player -- striker Ishan Pandita -- said: "I am extremely proud and honoured to be named for the camp. Any kid playing the sport will always aim to represent the country. And when the call comes, you have to take it. I am over the moon. But, I am ready to put in good work and work harder."
( With inputs from ANI )
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