Gouramangi Moirangthem first rose to prominence when he captained the India Under-18 winning team at the Ian Rush Trophy in 2003. Since then, his career kept reaching new heights as he won a number of personal as well as team honours.
“I am lucky to have been playing at the highest level for a number of years now. It has been a great experience. I would not have got or experienced most things in life had I not been a footballer. Winning trophies has always been great and so has been sharing the changing rooms and field with so many well-known players, respected coaches, and quality opponents,” he told Goal.
He was not a part of the team that got knocked out in the group stages of the Asian Games in Incheon after 5-0 and 2-0 losses to the UAE and Jordan respectively. However, he thinks that the younger crop in the squad can learn a thing or two from this tournament.
“As an Indian and a biggest fan of the team, of course, I am disappointed that the team went out of the tournament without scoring a goal and conceding a few. However, it’s a good experience for a lot of younger players who get good exposure from these tournaments.”
India enjoyed a successful spell under the reign of former coach Bob Houghton who helped India to win the Nehru Cup on a couple of occasions, SAFF Championship and most importantly, qualify for the Asian Cup in 2011 by winning the AFC Challenge Cup. However under Wim Koevermans, India has struggled to beat opponents such as Bangladesh on home soil.
Gouramangi’s view is that it is vital to be in news in order to be successful and also have a positive spirit about the team.
“People talk about golden era of the Indian team in the 50s and 60s. I was not born then so I cannot comment. From 2007 to 2011, when we won the Nehru Cup, SAFF Cup, AFC Challenge Cup and qualified for the AFC Asian Cup.
“The national team got a lot of interest and positive publicity in the media. People started following the national team and were disappointed when we lost or did not do well. In the last couple of years the team has not made as many headlines. For the national team to do well, a positive vibe around the team and being in the news is very important,” he opined.
The Manipuri defender believes that the Indian Super League (ISL) can act as a catalyst in providing an impetus to Indian football.
“Big names coming into Indian football will garner interest and attention of the spectators, media, and general public. I have heard the broadcast will be very good too and it’s important as football needs to look good on television and well presented for the people who want to watch it.
“Other than this, programmes at the grass-root level, quality coaching, better facilities, and matches under lights will only help the quality of the game improve over a few years.”
He thanked Chennaiyn FC co-owner Vita Dani for ensuring that the best facilities are made available to the players.
"They got the team right towards the end and in just a few weeks, they have managed to put everything in place; given us the best of facilities including the 5-star hotels, physiotherapists, masseurs, doctor, and a good treatment, which isn’t less than any club in Europe would provide.”
Winning the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 and playing for the national team in the Asian Cup have been the proudest moments in his career.
When asked about how he is working to get back in the Indian national team, he replied stating that the decision to represent the country is currently not in his hands, as it is the coach (Koevermans) who has the reigns over selection. But he’s doing his job by training and toiling on the field.
“This is not in my control. What's in my control is I go out every morning, work hard, and enjoy the training session with the lads. I am only concentrating on giving my best in the first edition of the Indian Super League.”