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AFC U23 Championship

AFC U-23 Championship: Prabhsukhan Gill - Win against Argentina instilled a lot of belief in us

2:39 PM MYT 23/03/2019
Prabhsukhan Gill NEROCA FC Gokulam FC I-League 2017/2018
The India U-23 custodian spoke about how victories against Argentina, Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters boosted the youngsters' confidence ...

The qualifiers for the AFC U-23 Championship are now underway in Uzbekistan. Though India were beaten by the hosts in the opener, they have a slim chance of going through if they manage to beat Tajikistan and other results in the group go their way.

Goal managed to strike up a conversation with young goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill who is part of the squad. The youngster provided a peep into his early years and spoke about how he started off as a centre-back before his then coach, Harjinder Singh suggested him to take up the role between the sticks.

"I played a lot of village tournaments before I joined Chandigarh Football Academy. 

"I was a centre back. In 2011 when I went to CFA I started as a centre back but my coach (Harjinder Singh) said that since I am tall enough I should try goalkeeping. I reluctantly put on the gloves and started practicing. Gradually I got used to it and started loving playing as a keeper. I trained in CFA for three years."

Gill thanked the coaching staff for helping him out of a tough phase after his debut for Indian Arrows against East Bengal did not turn out like how he would have hoped for. The 18-year-old confirmed that he is now in a better situation to tackle anything that comes his way.

"I never got to play much before my first I-League appearance against East Bengal.  Facing such a big team in your professional debut makes you a bit nervous. I was a bit under pressure.

“But the credit goes to the entire coaching staff. They have always encouraged me and even when I made mistakes they would back me up. Therefore, I started gaining confidence bit by bit. It was a big boost to my confidence when I started in the next three games even after making mistakes against East Bengal.

“The experiences from my first season made me mentally strong before the second season. I am now more composed when under pressure,” Gill stated.

Last year, the Indian U-20 team churned out a historic win over the Argentinian U-20 team. The 2-1 win over a team with a larger footballing heritage was a morale booster for all the Indian youngsters in the squad.

“The result against Argentina instilled in us a belief that we can also perform at the highest stage. We took the lead and the fact that we were able to defend it boosted our confidence a lot. I can never forget that match.

“I am never shaken by the striker in the opponent. We have intense training sessions so that we are prepared well. We have video analysts to help us with set-pieces. So, how big and renowned may be the player I am always ready to face him,” the custodian said.

Indian Arrows recently picked up two crucial victories against heavyweights Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters in the I-League and the Super Cup respectively. Gill is motivated to keep up the good form.

He said – “The victory against Mohun Bagan in Kolkata was really special. It was the last game of our campaign and we wanted to end on a high. So it was really a treat to get a positive result against them in their home ground. But, the draw against Real Kashmir also was a very good result.

“It was important to win against Kerala Blasters. Last year we were beaten by a narrow margin and we wanted to set the record straight this time. I gave my 100 percent and I feel good that I made those saves and kept a clean sheet.

“No real pressure on me. I just want to give my best in Uzbekistan (in the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers). Hopefully, we win.”

The 18-year-old also confessed to being a Real Madrid and Gianluigi Buffon fan.

"I feel bad for Buffon. There’s still no Champions League medal for him. But I was stuck in between when Madrid won it last year. I was happy and sad at the same time," Gill concluded. 

(With inputs from Sooraj Kamath)