Manchester United Fan Manju Delighted With FPAI Indian Player Of The Year Nomination

The injured Mohun Bagan defender finally has something to cheer about…
N.S. Manju twisted his ankle and suffered a hairline fracture in India’s 0-1 defeat against Lebanon in the opening match of the 2009 Nehru Cup.

He was expected to be ruled out for six weeks but has been actually out of football for more than three months now. As a result, he missed tournaments like Durand Cup and IFA Shield and then the first eight rounds of the I-League.

Manju started light training a few days back and so only has an outside chance of being fit for December’s Federation Cup. Understandably he sounded upset while talking about his long term absence but admitted that there was no point looking back.

Speaking to Goal.com he said, “I am obviously very frustrated to be out of action for such a long time but I don’t think there is any benefit in looking back.

“Being a professional player you have to get on with these things because injuries are a part of the game.”

Manju is satisfied with the treatment that he has received and is optimistic of returning for the Federation Cup.

“I have been receiving very good treatment from doctors which were recommended by Indian team doctor Gagan Kapoor so now I am in a much better shape.

“Only a few days back I joined training but still I have a lot to work on. Its going to be difficult but I will try my best to recover on time for the Federation Cup at least.”

For any player personally it is difficult to be in good spirits while being out due to a long term injury.

But Manju finally received some good news a few days back when FPAI (Football Players' Association Of India) named him as a nominee for the Best Indian Player Category for their first ever Awards night, which is scheduled to be held on Sunday, December 13th. Dempo duo of Anthony Pereira and Sunil Chhetri are the other nominees.

The Mohun Bagan defender admitted that the news came as a pleasant surprise for him and said that he was honoured to get the nomination.

“It was a pleasant surprise for me to get nominated and I am truly honoured because there are so many good players in India, yet I got selected.

“I am very happy that FPAI nominated me alongside two of the best Indian players. I don’t know whether I will win the award but already I feel like a winner.”

The former Mahindra defender then gave his opinion about his current club’s start in the I-League and also praised the young defenders who did well in the absence of the experienced players.

“I don’t think we have been at our best so far but we are only three points behind the leaders so that’s not a bad start.

“In the recent past we have made very poor starts and then recovered in the latter stages but this time I don’t think our beginning has been that bad and there is enough time to do well and get closer to the top.

“We have been missing a few key players but I think the youngsters have performed brilliantly in their absence. Especially the defenders like Sangram Mandi and Biswajit Saha have made the most of their first team chances, which shows the abundance of young talent in our squad.”

Manchester United fan Manju is also keeping a close eye on the Premier League and expects the title race to go down to the wire.

“We are only in November, so there is a long way to go in the Premier League. My favorite team is Man United so definitely I want them to win.

“But you cannot predict anything now because we see a few surprise results every now and then like on Saturday Arsenal lost to Sunderland. Chelsea are playing very well but it is going to be very tight,” he concluded.

Amoy Ghoshal