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Amrinder Singh reveals what compelled him to join Odisha FC

Published at :December 1, 2022 at 12:19 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Souvari Paul

The national team goalkeeper also gave his prediction for the FIFA World Cup semi-finalists.

One of the basic requirements of a champion team is having a solid custodian under their goal. And Odisha FC seem to have found the same in Amrinder Singh. The 29-year-old has been influential in Odisha's superb start to the ISL 2022-23 season, whereby he has looked rock solid under the goal.

The national team custodian was criticised by a large section of the Indian football fraternity last year, due to certain unimpressive displays. These criticisms went so far that his former club, ATK Mohun Bagan, signed another goalkeeper, Vishal Kaith, at the start of this season despite penning a five-year contract with Amrinder.

Amidst all these, Khel Now got a chance to have an exclusive chat with Amrinder Singh, where he discussed a lot of topics with us.

The project at Odisha FC and his role in it

After it was made clear that ATK Mohun Bagan will have a new custodian for this season, there were a lot of speculations about where Amrinder will go. East Bengal was considered to be the forerunner in securing Amrinder's signature, which eventually did not go through. Just ahead of the season, Odisha FC announced the signing of Amrinder Singh. The goalie talked to Khel Now regarding his decision to sign for Odisha and the project at the club.

Amrinder Singh instructing his teammates in the game against Chennaiyin FC. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

"If you look at Odisha FC, with the kind of support the club gets from the fans and the government, it is imperative for the club to connect to the people. I followed them in the Durand Cup and witnessed how Odisha played. In the game between Odisha and Bengaluru FC, I was moved by Odisha's unity. It felt like the team has everything that I need as a player. The team's unity, the kind of celebrations after goals, and the manner in which all the players played as a single unit were some strong factors that helped my decision to join Odisha."

(Amrinder's role in the project)

The custodian added, "I joined Odisha because such a mentality from the team suits my personality very well. I am a person who loves to take a team forward together with others. Hence, I believed that this team will be the perfect team for me. I also like the style in which our coach plays. He wants us to play from the back and I think I am able to do that. So, all these factors together led me to join the club."

The vision of Odisha FC for the next five years

Odisha FC was formed in 2019. In the last three seasons, the club was not able to reach the playoffs. Nor was it able to make its mark through its footballing display. However, this season, the club looks very strong and on track to a top-four finish, if not a top-of-the-table finish. In this regard, Amrinder talked about the philosophy of the club and what the club wants to achieve in the next five years.

"This year, the foremost target of the club is to finish on top of the table. We want to write our names on the shield (ISL League Winners Shield). This year we have a good team and we have brought the coach. On top of it, there is strong support for the club from the government. When we combine all these things, we can expect that the club is slated to grow significantly over the next 4/5 years."

Is this a comeback season for Amrinder Singh?

The previous season was tough for Amrinder! (Courtesy: ISL Media)

A large section of football media had cited the signing of Amrinder Singh as a bad move for ATK Mohun Bagan. He was prematurely relieved of his services by the Mariners. Many criticised his performance while some were even worried about his future when he did not feature in the Durand Cup. Amrinder opened up in front of Khel Now regarding all these claims.

"I don't know how you are saying that this is a comeback season for me. Last year, we played in the semi-final. Before that, I had won two trophies (the ISL Trophy and the League Winners Shield for Mumbai City). This year also, we are fighting for first place. So, I don't know how you are seeing or saying that this is my comeback season. I think I am doing perfectly fine."

Personal goals for Amrinder at Odisha

From winning silverware to winning individual awards, Amrinder Singh talked about many different things when we asked him about his personal goals. He strongly believes that he will be able to achieve a majority of these goals by playing for Odisha FC. He said:

"My personal goals will always be with me. The team's atmosphere is just how I wish it to be. In all our games, we have dominated play comprehensively. All the teams in ISL treat Odisha FC with full respect whenever they have a match with us. Hence, all of my goals at the club level, which involve winning silverware, can get fulfilled by playing for this club. Apart from the club's triumph, my personal goals of winning the Golden Glove, Best Player (Award), etc. have every chance to get fulfilled."

Amrinder's thoughts on Josep Gombau's system

After spending two years in India between 2018-2020, Josep Gombau returned as the head coach of Odisha FC this year. The return has been no short of a phenomenon for the club as it has made a superb start to the campaign.

Amrinder has been rock solid in goal for Odisha this season. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

More importantly, the character shown by the team has been getting a lot of praise from multiple sources. A large share of this success is credited to Gombau, who, naturally, has been giving the credit to the players. In conversation with us, Amrinder talked a lot about Josep Gombau and his football philosophy.

"To be honest, the most notable thing about our coach is that he treats us (the players) in the same way he treats his family members. The atmosphere at the club is that much healthy."

(Intrinsic features of Gombau's system)

"The experience of playing under him has been highly enriching so far. He is very clear with his plans before the match with each player being aware of his role. Gombau knows how to keep the team united. He possesses a strong winning mentality. Even if you are in training and you make a mistake, he will not mince his words and convey to you the same very directly. He keeps on motivating everyone.

He added, "Gombau even tries to give the minutest information to everyone on what would be their roles. Gombau thinks thoroughly about a game from the beginning of our training to the end of the game. Such is his influence that our team never thinks of giving up before the final whistle."

India's hopes in the AFC Asian Cup 2023

India has secured an AFC Asian Cup qualification for the second time in a row. In 2019, a draw in their last game would have taken India to the knockout stages. However, India lost the game in the 89th minute. In 2023, India will again ply its luck at the continental competition. Amrinder shared his thoughts about playing in the competition.

"I have a lot of hope for the Indian team for the AFC Asian Cup. As we can see, Indian national team players are doing good in ISL. In the upcoming edition, I have a very strong feeling that we'll go past the group stage. Once we do that, there will be the knockout stage whereby it will be a game-by-game approach where anything can happen."

Preparation for AFC Asian Cup

Amrinder Singh during a training session for the Indian national team. (Courtesy: Amrinder Singh Twitter)

Amrinder Singh gave a lot of importance to the preparation time that a coach gets for his/her team's success. He gave the example of India's recent performance in the Asian Cup qualifiers held in Kolkata in which India did exceptionally well to win all the games.

"When we talk about a club's coach, they get a lot of time to set up the team and work with the players. Prior to the qualifiers that we played in Kolkata, Stimac also got some time to have a pre-season with the players. I think that is a very important thing as the outcome of it was clearly visible on the field. Every player knew what was his exact role. For the upcoming national team camp, if Stimac gets enough time to prepare, we can do well in the Asian Cup."

World Cup Predictions

Lastly, Amrinder revealed his FIFA World Cup semi-finalists' prediction in front of Khel Now. He said:

"I support Brazil. But it is very difficult to predict the semi-finalists. But I think Brazil, France, Spain, and England will be the semi-finalists. In case Brazil does not win, I would want either Argentina or Portugal to win."