The winger also talked about the national camp and his rise in thegame among other things.

India international Holicharan Narzary spoke to in the media interaction arranged by the All India Football Federation on the eve of India’s clash against New Zealand in the Intercontinental Cup. The winger, as humble as he is, put aside his inhibitions and spoke openly to the press.

The interaction started with him being quizzed about his Dempo days and his time in Goa. He said, “I didn’t get to play much in the beginning. My first proper experience was at Palian Arrows. The seniors and coaches treated me very well. They make you work hard. Clifford (Miranda), whom I met at Dempo, motivated me to work hard.”

The topic quickly shifted to how he prepares for the game and what goes on in his mind to which he honestly replied, “Basically, in the first half, we observe and analyse what are the defensive tactics of the opponents.”

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“It is very important to observe and only after doing that in the first 10-15 minutes or the first half, I make a plan for me. You have to check where the defender is, have to see where the ball is and have to think where I need to go, and in that way, we have to create spaces.”

He added about the Kenya game saying, “When it rained a lot, it made it difficult for us to run and pass the ball. So, the team decided to not to play ground balls much anymore and rather play high and long balls.”

“It depends on the situations. We don’t know what the performance would have been had it not rained. I think we could have performed better if it had not rained as it would have been possible to keep more possession of the ball. In that case, we could have scored more.”

On being quizzed about the increase in support and its added pressure along with the one he already had playing against the opponents he answered, “There is a bit of pressure, but we are now used to it. It is not only pressure but also fun to play in front of the crowd. But yes, there is a bit pressure for improvement in our performances.”

“The teams are good, whoever we played against. Our performance has been satisfying. The teams in the (AFC Asian Cup) Qualifiers gave a bit more competitive spirit as we had the pressure of qualifying, but these teams are also very good. Kenya is a very strong team and if they reach the final, we will come prepared for them too.”


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Narzary also spoke about the role that the Intercontinental Cup plays in the preparation for the Asian Cup saying, “It is a long journey and we are taking it all game-by-game. Right now, the focus is on winning the Intercontinental Cup.”

“It is almost three and a half years since we are all playing together and because of this long time, we could understand each other well. Whoever our striker or stopper is, wants us to defend as well when we attack. They ask us to defend and attack as a team.”

He then elaborated on his experience in the national team, “Whenever you come to play for the national team, you are to have the players competing for your position and there is always the pressure of losing it to them. So, we have to work hard.”

“The fitness training at the national team’s sessions are altogether at a different level from those at club football. They make us be fitter and in lesser time so that we perform well at the highest level. At club level, we don’t need to train much as we don’t have to run much.”

“When we are at home, we do practice at morning and evening. We train twice, hit the gym. No matter where we are, with whom we are, club or national team, or even if we are at home, we have to train well.”

“It is very difficult to play for the national team, you have to train very hard. At the club, we do keep the possession of the ball and we are trying to do the same for the national team as well, no matter whom we are playing against.

“But it’s hard to always keep the possession of the ball. Hence, we sometimes are forced to play long balls to the strikers and go ahead from the second balls received.”

Read more in the second part here.