The combative midfielder is not ready to give an inch on the pitch and we hope it remains that way against Jordan as well.
Pronay Halder is an Indian midfield mainstay. The man, who returned last year after a long injury layoff, has gone from strength to strength with every game he’s played in the national jersey. Prior to the team’s departure for the Jordan friendly, Khel Now got into a conversation with the burly Kolkata lad, who looks fit and raring to go.
Starting with ATK, he said that it’s going good in the Indian Super League. He also mentioned that winning the last game gave a good feeling to the squad and instilled a lot of belief in the players. He insisted that the management and the team were looking forward to a good run after the international break.
“Jordan is a very good and strong side, but we’re excited,” we moved on to the upcoming friendly. “They played extremely well against Croatia, losing 2-1 in their last game, but we’re preparing well and are looking forward to it.”
Talking about the big miss – Sunil Chhetri is unfit for this game – Halder continued, “Honestly, he’s the best leader I’ve ever seen – both on and off the field. We’ll miss Sunil bhai a lot, but injuries are part of the game and we hope he plays again soon.”
Will the onus be on someone specific, with the main man out? the midfielder answered this with a smirk. “Football, essentially, is a team game. The full team will give its 100% to get the best result against Jordan.”
We moved on from the regular question-answer session to a faster “rapid-fire mode.” The former FC Goa midfielder was game for it as well:
Jeje Lalpekhlua’s lack of form
“It happens to everyone. He’s having a little dip and we’re all supporting him. He’s very motivated for the Jordan game and he’ll surely deliver the goods.”
Halder’s closest competitor in the national team setup
He played it safe, this time around. “We’re all competitors on the pitch. I don’t give an inch to anyone on the field. Off it, everyone is a close friend.”
“A difficult one, but I’d rather choose all three. They’re all my favourite players. I play with Eugen at ATK and share the pitch with Thapa and Borges here at the national team. It’s difficult to pick one.”
- India qualify for Olympic Qualifiers second round for the first time, despite losing to hosts Myanmar
On the rise of Anirudh Thapa in the last year or so
“Anirudh was part of the U-14 setup when we were playing for the Pailan Arrows (2011). The way he has risen is tremendous. He’s shown maturity and he’s really played well. We have motivated him and we hope he continues to play well.”
“One of the most talented players I’ve seen with the ball. Soosai played well when we fought (Jamshedpur routed FC Goa 4-1 earlier this season, with Soosairaj scoring twice and assisting once). He needs to keep up the good work.
“He’s very comfortable with the ball and that’s his greatest strength. He works very hard and is a very good player. I like him a lot.” (Brandon and Halder shared the dressing room at FC Goa last season).
Win or a draw against Jordan
“Certainly a win. After the draw against China, the camp is in high spirits. We aren’t planning to go overtly defensive this time around as well. We’ll create chances and will try to score. We aren’t going for a draw, we’re going to win.”