EXCLUSIVE | Target is to play for India but Kerala Blasters a priority now: Ruivah Hormipam

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Kolkata: Kerala Blasters’ newly-signed defender Ruivah Hormipam conveyed his wish to play for the national team and serve his country, although he also acknowledged that his job at hand is to feature for the ‘Yellow Army’ and do well with them. He stated his wish to be regular with the club.

The defender from Manipur, who signed a contract with Kerala Blasters for three years is a young prospect who came through the youth systems of Minerva Punjab. He has also featured for the Indian Arrows.

“To play for the Indian national team is indeed my dream and this is what my heart desires. I want to serve my country. But the first step is to feature for Kerala Blasters and do well. If the technical team and the coach feel I am ready for my national team call-up they will give me a chance. I want to work hard for the club and try and be a regular in the line-up. The rest will follow,” Hormipam said in an exclusive interview with Sportslight Media.

“I have indeed played for many teams. Various systems and different scenarios I played under had new tactics and something new to teach me. I am new to Kerala Blasters and as you must be aware we have not started training yet so it will be not possible for me to comment on the same,” stated Hormipam when asked about tactics in his new team.

 

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After establishing himself as a central player with the Minerva Punjab at the U-18 level, Hormipan donned the national colours as he went on to become one of the members of the Indian U-18 side that won the maiden SAFF Championship in Nepal in 2019.

“That was a surreal experience, to see myself on that stage was excellent. It happened right after we won the U-18 I-League in the Goa with Minerva Punjab,” he added. India won all their four matches en route to the title.

“That tournament caused many good things for me. I went for the trails at the camp and got selected. I couldn’t play many matches but I trained hard and learned so many things. Discipline, routine and match preparation was on a different level. I also learnt so much while mixing with new players in a relatively short span. The exposure tours really helped us gain a lot of confidence,” he added.

Hormipam was enrolled with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) academy in Imphal in 2017. Formal training is important for every footballer who wishes to play at the top level as they learn the basic of the game at that age. One of the major reasons for India’s greater pool of footballers is formal training at the grassroots level.

 

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“It is very important to receive formal training. Training individually, at grassroots is completely different from training with a team in an organized form. Training with certain sets of do’s and don’ts with a role in mind is very different which is important to do well on the big stage. We have to play as a team and that sort of training can happen only when you play competitions and play with a set of players,” he further added.

The 20-year-old defender is one of those players who played in the I-league for Roundglass Punjab FC and is about to play in the cash-rich Indian Super League. The youngster started in nine matches with Minerva Punjab playing well over 600 minutes.

“I had envisioned the journey and the path. But what comes as a pleasant surprise to me is the pace at which it is happening. I have worked hard and the results have been in my favor,” he said reminiscing his journey.

“In 2018, when we won the league with Minerva Punjab, the dream of playing in the big league occurred. There have been a lot of learnings during this time. I have learned so much, if I compare myself to 2018 and 2021, there is a vast difference. But as I say this, it is a journey and it is not over, I know I have to prove myself and develop further and enhance my skill sets.

“I have a long way to go and I feel Kerala Blasters is right place for me to be. Personally I am super motivated and I am excited as this will be my first ISL season and I want to show the world that I am good enough for this league. I want to prove that the trust shown by the management in me is right in every sense,” concluded the young talent.

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