The India U-16 starlet also talked about his love for Sandesh Jhingan and his style of play.
Born in the state of Punjab, there is little that differentiates Harpreet Singh from a typical ‘Punjabi.’
His nickname ‘Happy’ and the ever-glowing smile on his face adds more to the charm of a young footballer from the State that has produced National Team players over the years.
But ‘Happy’ was somewhat of a rebel for Football when he was young. “I cried a lot,” he smiles and recollects. “I use to cry a lot when my father forced me to go to school but at that time all I wanted to play was Football.”
“Football has been my first love since I was a child and I was scolded a lot many times for going to play instead of studying”
But gradually times changed. “My parents understood my desire for the sport and when I got selected for the Indian team, they cried with joy and were happy that their son is representing the Country.”
The state of Punjab has been a football nursery over the years and with the Indian U-16 National Team having more than five ‘Punjabi-s’ in the squad, the vigour is easily identifiable. No wonder Harpreet’s favourite player is Sandesh Jhingan, who plays in the same position as he does – defence.
“Sandesh paaji is my role model. In fact, he is the role model of many in the team and I am inspired by the way he plays on the field — Fearless. That is how I want to play. I will be happiest if I can grow up to be a player like him.”
Perhaps playing fearless will come in handy as the Indian U-16s gear up for the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 in an attempt to make history and qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2019. But Harpreet does not want to stop there.
“I want to win the AFC U-16 Championship. We want to create history and become the first team to qualify (for the FIFA U17 World Cup) and become Champions.”
“It will certainly be a hard feat to achieve but we have been training harder and have belief in our system that we can accomplish this”
The defender notched up a goal in a 3-0 win over Yemen and stays confident that “if the ball comes to me from a corner kick scenario, I will try my best to score”
“As a defender my first job is to defend, but scoring is important for me as well.”