ISL 2018-19: Sumeet Passi counting on goals to earn adulation

Jamshedpur FC
Jamshedpur FC striker speaks on how he plans to turn the fans' criticism into love....

Sumeet Passi has earned more fame playing for the national team than at the club level. The striker started his career at All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) developmental side Pailan Arrows.

A year later he moved to Sporting Club de Goa. He has also plied his trade at DSK Shivajians and NorthEast United before moving to Jamshedpur FC last season. But he has not really grabbed the headlines during his stints with these clubs.

But the Haryana-born striker has been picked regularly in the national team by Indian coach Stephen Constantine since 2016.

Even after serious criticisms from several sections of the fans, Constantine continues to keep his faith in the 24-year-old's abilities.

When Goal caught up with the India international forward, he spoke about how he deals with the criticism levelled at him. “Yes I know I get a lot of criticism on the internet. I recently scored two goals in the SAFF Cup. I hope I score more goals in the ISL and then the fans will stop criticising and instead start loving me.”

Passi remained out of action for the majority of the last season due to injuries, only to recover for the business end of the league.

Speaking about the 2017-18 ISL season, he said, “I was injured last year so I did not play many matches. Now I am injury free and working really hard. This season I want to play more matches and score more goals so that I can be one of the best strikers and also cement my place in the Indian team.”

Sumeet is eyeing a spot in the senior Indian team for the upcoming Asian Cup 2019 which is less than four months away where India are grouped alongside UAE, Thailand and Bahrain.

He said, “The Asian Cup is the main target for me this season. I want to be there anyhow and for that, I will work harder.”

On asked how challenging it will be for him to play under a Spanish coach (Cesar Ferrando) at Jamshedpur this season, Passi opined, “As a footballer, you have to adjust and adapt yourself to the different styles of different coaches. I played under Steve Coppell last season at Jamshedpur and then under Stephen Constantine. Both are fantastic coaches. And now I will be playing under a Spanish coach. I am ready to take the challenge.”

He also shared his excitement in playing alongside Socceroos legend Tim Cahill this season in the ISL.

“We all know Tim Cahill is a great player but he is also a very good human being. I can’t wait to start training with him. I am sure I will learn a lot of things both as a player and as a human being,” said the Indian striker.