It takes great courage to stand between the woodwork and spoil the opponent’s every move. Trusting their instincts and backing their agility, being a Goalkeeper is no easy task. While you need several brilliant saves to prove yourself, one slight mistake can bring you down. Rakshit Kumar takes a stand for his team and for a profession severely undervalued in the country.
Club: Simla Youngs FC
Participated in ‘Welsh International Super Cup ‘, Wales at U-15,U-17,U-19 level.
Represented Madhya Pradesh at U-19 school nationals 2009-10 securing 2nd position
Participated in U-19 All india open nationals 2009-10
Participated in National football League B 2009-10, 2010-11 from Simla Young FC.
Participated in Manchester united U-15 Cup.
How and when did you decide that you want to become a goalkeeper and follow football?
I started playing football at the age of 13 in school only, and my coach told me that I was more suitable as a goalkeeper. I was always enthusiastic about goalkeeping and thus went with it.
What are the issues you have faced in your journey so far and which continue to ail the sport?
From whatever I have seen I can say that there is lack of professionalism and apart from that there are other issues such as lack of proper guidance and infrastructure. I’ve seen many people go forward with their power of money, while deserving players don’t get their due.
What about the quality of coaches?
There are not many goalkeeping coaches in India but I had an opportunity to train under a Japanese coach and I got to learn a lot from him. Such exposure gives you a different view of the game, and brings professionalism in your game. They stress on the subtle passing game than the lob and run style our coaches follow.
What are the issues associated with goalkeeping specifically?
Grounds in India are of poor quality and not suitable for goalkeeping. The playing surface is very hard and many a times without grass cover. You have to be strong mentally and physically to play regularly in these conditions.
Where do you go from here?
I am focused towards playing for Simla Youngs FC and hope to qualify for the I-league this season. Also my ambition is to stand between the poles for Delhi in the Santosh Trophy and then ultimately for the national team.
You would advice others to take up the sport, become a goalkeeper?
Chances are definitely there irrespective of the flaws I’ve mentioned. Given the right exposure, and support from sponsors, a hardworking player will always be successful. Have a look at Subrata Pal, he is a very highly rated goalkeeper and he is an Indian!