The Indian version of N’Golo Kante or even a more versatile Nemanja Matic has seen himself grow into becoming one of the key members in the National fold. . .
Football pundits claim that on the pitch you can find Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante everywhere. Although a far cry from the two-time English Premier League champion and no less than 1000 miles apart, Goan Rowllin Borges is writing his own version of N’Golo Kante for the Indian National Team under the tutelage of Head Coach Stephen Constantine.
Borges does not shy away from doing the dirty work of running after the ball, chasing forwards down and making tackles to claim possession. The lanky midfielder has proved a clog in Constantine’s midfield and has been an instrumental part of the National Team setup.
At a time when he was unheard of, Constantine picked out Rowllin’s ability to play as a workhorse introducing him to the National Team.
Borges, without a second’s delay, accredits his success with the National Team to Constantine. “He (Constantine) picked me out and gave me the opportunity to represent the Nation. He (Constantine) told me that hard work will get me anywhere I want to go and that is what has been my mindset since that day.”
“Constantine has given me some of the best memories of my Football life and I always want to give my cent percent for the National Team in hopes of making my Country proud.”
After taking a deep gasp, Borges adds, “He (Constantine) changed my mindset. He taught me how to think like a winner”
With the Indian National Team under Constantine, Borges played an instrumental role in the 2015 SAFF Suzuki Cup win, pulling strings in the midfield whilst safeguarding the defence line.
The lanky midfielder had also scored his first goal in India colours in the 4-1 drubbing of Nepal in the same tournament. Borges was also named the 2016 AIFF Emerging Player of the Year.
“My role is not glossy. Defensive midfielders do not get to score many goals but when I get the opportunity I will take it with both hands to give my team the advantage,” Borges smiled when mentioned about his first goal.
“It is not only about physical conditioning. Rather, a lot of fights on the pitch are fought mentally. The amount of mental toughness involved in Football is immense. And for a player who does most of the work chasing the ball, mental toughness plays a very important role,” he states.
Borges understands the importance of the upcoming AFC Asian Cup Qualifying match against the Kyrgyz Republic and the International Friendly against Nepal. “We understand it’s a very important match for us. We won’t shy away. Football has been my redemption and in whatever role the Coach asks me to play in, I will.”