Exclusive: I hope one day i will play for the country- Kushant Chauhan
Written by: Neelam
Known for his versatility and comfort with the ball at his feet, the frontman is focused on performing well with his current side this season.
Not many of us knew his name before, but now we do. Recently picked by I-League outfit Gokulam Kerala, former Hindustan FC striker Kushant Chauhan is a new face in today's media-frenzied Indian football.
Chauhan is a 25-year-old forward, who had a great outing in the final round of the 2nd Division I-League last season. He was one of the better performers for Hindustan during the final round and the striker definitely made his mark for his side during the league. Hailing from the Indian capital, it was always going to be difficult to inculcate a habit of loving a different sport other than cricket. He started playing football in school. but did not take it up professionally until college.
Initially, Chauhan wanted to become a cricketer, but things changed, with his family’s incessant support. He joined Hindustan FC and the move saw a turnaround in his career. The football enthusiast played in the Santosh Trophy and the second tier of Indian football for three years, which saw him grow as a player and gain confidence.
"I used to play a lot of cricket initially, but I was better at football. Looking at capabilities, I chose football," he said.
About his big move from the Delhi-based club to Kerala, he stated, "Gokulam is one of the best clubs in Indian football. They played fabulously last season and representing them is a dream come true."
Like other fellow Indian professionals, Chauhan also has a fascinating background
When asked about how football is different in Kerala than in Delhi, he replied, “Football has been passionately followed in both the places, but the main difference would be the footballing culture. Kerala has more footballing culture then Delhi.
There is a lot of discussion happening about football, fans support their local team whether it is Gokulam, Kerala FC, or Kerala Blasters. Here, people take interest in local football which as of now has not developed in Delhi. I hope that standards rise soon."
Breaking through the ranks at the capital-based team, he had a superb time playing in the second tier. When questioned about what motivated him he said, “When I was a kid I saw Sunil (Chhetri) Bhai at Ambedkar Stadium during Nehru Cup. I was a big fan of him while growing up. When I was younger, I used to look up to Sunil bhai. Another idol of mine was Lionel Messi. He was so quick with the ball at his feet and he’s someone I try to replicate on the pitch with my playing style."
Chauhan might already be a sparkling package at 25, but he still has certain things he needs to improve. His biggest strength is his pace, which allows him to get past his marker and get into the box. However, according to him, he needs to improve his finishing and the final ball, to make him more lethal.
Kushant also talked about the fans as he quipped, “I have played in Delhi but I feel like Kerala has the warmest reception for a footballer. I have fans messaging me on social media about how they can’t wait to see me in action and I feel really good about that. I’ll try my best to perform in front of the huge Gokulam crowd."
"I just want to keep playing football because it gives me joy. It’s a fantastic feeling to be selected in the club, but the aspirations for the future are to continue playing football at the highest level, hoping one day I will play for my country.”
Like other fellow Indian professionals, Chauhan also has a fascinating background story to tell about what inspired him to become a footballer. "I'm actually from old Delhi, just near the famous Ambedkar Stadium. So, right from my youth days, I started playing football at the stadium. I got further motivated by playing with some senior player who had played in the Santosh Trophy and they inspired me to become a professional."
His biggest strength is his pace, which allows him to get past his marker and get into the box
The former Hindustan FC striker has worked under many coaches in his career, but he holds one coach in high regard and he is Vikrant Sharma. Well respected by the striker, the tactician has played an influential role in his development. Chauhan stated, “He was a great player and now he is a great coach. He always likes to be on the winning side and that’s what I like and learned from him.”
When asked about his ultimate goal, the young man said that he hopes to don the national jersey one day. He also added, “The Indian national team has done very well in recent times. Hope we keep this going.”
On the Indian Super League he added, “The ISL is the top-most league in India right now, Naturally, everyone aspires to play in it and I want to play for the national team quickly too. But for now, my only focus is to play better for my team in all competitions."
Published: Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:36 PM IST