Lalkamal Bhowmick is an omnipresent presence in the national team's practice sessions in the run up to the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. Glad to be a part of the India squad, he said it was a matter of pride for him to be among the select few, who have made it to the top.
"When I sit back and think about it, it gives me goose bumps. We are a vast country, but now I'm among the best 23 from the whole of India. It's a feeling which can't be shared but felt," he revealed.
Bhowmick also admitted that he had always expected a long wait for his chance to make his debut. He is optimistic that he shall get a chance to establish himself soon and understands that the coach has a plan for every player.
"My job is to improve as a player with his inputs and prepare myself for the moment. Life is all about a learning curve. You need to learn to be patient", the midfielder maturely stated.
The 26-year old revealed that adjusting into the national setup has not been a problem at all. He revealed, "My role at my club remains the same as it is here under Wim Koevermans. And as for my teammates, I know them all as much as they know me. It is not an alien land at all.”
The Prayag United player also stressed on the affect of the camp held at Pune for the national team, prior to their arrival at Yangon. He added that the camp helped build a sense of belonging and unity among all the players and staff. "Besides, the coach stressed on high intensity practice sessions which were backed by video analysis. It was fun and work at the same time," he opined.
When asked about his views on the evolution the Indian national team has undergone over the years, he pointed out two distinct changes that he had observed - long-ball style of play being shelved and possession-based football given a lot of importance.
He also threw light upon the management not persisting with the same set of players, as was the norm before Wim Koevermans; that they are now conducive to change. He feels 'perform and play' seems to be the new philosophy that is being adopted these days, with the team not just about a specific set of players.
"Today if you look around, you'll find players from Pailan Arrows, United Sikkim Football Club and our own Prayag United sweating it out in the camp. That was something unheard of in Indian football not so long back. Now there is a pan-India presence."
Another positive news for the Indian team is that players from East Bengal and Churchill Brothers, who were busy with club duty in the AFC Cup, have now joined the national squadin Yangon.
Four Churchill Brothers' players - Sunil Chhetri, Sandip Nandy, Lenny Rodrigues and Denzil Franco arrived directly from Hong Kong and three East Bengal players - Raju Gaikwad, Mehtab Hossain and Robin Singh arrived from Singapore via Kolkata.
India play their first match against Chinese Taipei on March 2 at the Yangon Training Centre.
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