Saturday, July 20, 2013

Shankar in a spot of bother

It was all set for the talented junior international from Kolar to return to his home state, until AIFF pointed out that he’s their contracted player till 2014. Meet the exceptional Shankar Sampingi Raj, who once touted as the next best thing in Indian football. After spending almost two barren seasons with AIFF’s developmental side Pailan Arrows, he was all set to join JSW Sports. 

Uncertainty of keeping Arrows afloat was looming large, which forced players to look for greener pastures. But AIFF’s decision on Pailan Arrows continuing to play season 2013-14 of the I-League, has been a minor setback for Shankar. 

Per AIFF media release, Shankar is listed as a mid-fielder, but, Shankar says he’s keen to play for JSW. This also reiterates the fact that assistant coach Pradhyum Reddy is very much interested in Shankar. It was Pradhyum who took Shankar on loaned from Pailan Arrows to DSK Shivajians during I-League second division qualifiers. Also, JSW’s press release on local adding flavor didn’t figure Shankar’s name. 

Life has been miserable for this gifted player. Signed on loan for HAL during 2010-11 second I-League window, this 17-year old (that time) brilliant player met with an unfortunate knee injury while playing against Pune FC. 

Shankar was out of action for many months. His right knee went under the operating knife in May that year. Playing in the positions of stopper back and midfield, Shankar has impressed one and all. Former Indian Arrows coach Desmond Bulpin once said, “Shankar is an exceptionally talented lad with a mix of right height, skill, and attitude.” He feared that India might have lost a brilliant footballer due to injury! 

He was signed by Pailan Arrows during the 2011-12 season, but never got a chance to play for them. 

JSW Sports or Pailan Arrows, let’s hope Shankar stays away from injury and gets to play regularly for his team! 

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