Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tete-a-tete with Gumpe Rime

From the archive, circa June 2009, when Gumpe was just moving on to Lajong after playing several season in the Garden City. After a fruitful stint with Lajong both as a player as well as a mentor/coach, live progresses, and the man from a small town of Aalo (Arunachal Pradesh) is now guiding the talents in Tata Football Academy.

Originally written for

North-east of India has been a happy hunting ground for the national club recruiters. All the top national clubs have players from this region on their roster. However, you will barely find a player from Arunachal Pradesh. One such rare player who hails from Arunachal Pradesh is custodian Gumpe Rime, playing for the top clubs for almost one and half decade. 

After playing for Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL) six successful seasons, Gumpe is all set to keep the goal of the newly promoted first division I-league team, Shillong Lajong FC.

Q: Hi Gumpe, tell me what prompted to take you this decision?
A: I wanted to play for a first division club and Shillong Lajong FC is the first North-east club who will be playing in the I-league first division. I hail from North-east part of India, it will be a privilege for me to play for such a club and part of the history. And If my experience can be of any use then nothing like that.

Q: Tell us something about your childhood?
A: I come from a town named Aalo in Arunachal Pradesh. After my schooling, I was spotted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Guwahati, and groomed there for a while. I started playing for clubs since 1995. 

  • 1995-96 to 98-99 - Mahindra United 
  • 1999-00 - Bengal-Mubai Football Club (BMFC) 
  • 2000-01 - Vasco Sports Club 
  • 2003-04 - Salgaonkar Sports Club 
  • 2004-05 to 08-09 - HAL 
  • 2009-10 to 2012-13 - Lajong FC

My experience while playing for BMFC has been quite frustrating, it was a mis-managed team where players were not payed regularly.

Some clubs appear all of a sudden and after couple of seasons they literally disappear from the scene; leaving the players in lurch.I would like to bring to the notice of AIFF that they should check the credibility of these clubs before sanctioning their entity. Clubs like Chandni FC, Malabar FC, and Happy Entertainment  gets a chance to play in the I-league (second division) and sad to see that HAL being left out.

Q: Goalkeeping is a demanding job, how do you keep yourself fit, that too for so many years?
A: That way I have been fortunate enough, I have never got serious injuries while playing. But I do work on my fitness, during off-season I am regular at the training grounds. 

Q: How was the experience playing in HAL? 
A: Definitely good. After playing for so many years I am regarded as a home player.However, they need to be more professional in their approach, there are many formalities and protocols to get the budget approved. This becomes frustrating many times.

Team management should stress on retaining talents. Lot of promising players plays for HAL during their formative years and then leaves for better growth. They should look at retaining the best talents.

Also, there is lack of involvement from the management. HAL Sports Club members are high-ranked HAL officials, you would barely find them interacting with the players. Except for sports secretory, Mr. Rajan, I don’t see anyone interacting with the players.

On the contrary, in Salgaoncar the owner himself would take his busy time out to talk and encourage the team.

Q: How is HAL team this year?
A: This current bunch looks good. Management has picked up the core of the Karnataka Santosh Trophy team, including some promising players from BEML. But as I have mentioned before, this is story happens every year, they fail to retain the talents.

Q: And what about your experience playing in Kolkata? 
A: I had a short stint with Mohemadan, I’ve never played a full season there. Even during that time they changed coach many times, the management was bad. Players like Odafa and Chidi started their career in India by playing for Mohammedan, pity that they could not retain them and later these players dominated the India football scene.Once, I had got offer from East Bengal, but I had to reject it for some reason. But yes, the media coverage is amazing, you don’t get it anywhere else in India.

Q: How is football played in North-east? 
A: The local bodies in Manipur, Mizoram, Assam functions well. They have proper infrastructure, grass root level, and youth development programs.

I am not sure about Arunachal Pradesh, the football association does not have enough funds. There is no local league in Arunachal Pradesh. The players should get proper exposure by participating in the tournaments outside Arunachal Pradesh.

This year the Arunachal Pradesh team participated in the under-21 nationals at Goa and the result was decent. Football should be played throughout the year. We have now two young players from Arunachal Pradesh, Nyamar Loyi and Tassar Techi playing for clubs. Hope they play well and make Arunachal Pradesh proud.

At times discipline becomes as issue among the North-east players. Reaching to a height is not difficult, maintaining is difficult.

We have Baichung Bhutia as our icon, but after that there is a void, there is no one even close to him. 

Q: Any disappointment of not making to the national team?
A: I have played for India juniors. However, I was never selected for the senior team. I have attended national camps several times, but failed to make to the final squad. Mainly because our coaches preferred tall keepers.

Q: Who is your favorite goalkeeper? 
A: I have always found Jorge Campos, the famous Mexican goalkeeper exciting. Not because of his flashy outfits, but for his agility. He did not have the height, but the kind of saves he made was amazing. 

In India, I have seen Ghanaian international Edward Ansah’s keeping. He was playing in India when he was in his 40’s. Even at that age, he was one of the best keepers to have graced Indian football.Currently, Edward Ansah is the goal-keeping coach for Ghana. 

Q: How long you want to continue playing football? 
A: Another 3 years at the top level. (grins) 

Q: Any post-retirement plans? 
A: I have not made any plans yet. Definitely something related to football, maybe an instructor. I will leave it to my destiny. (smiles) 

Q: Thanks Gumpe for your time and best wishes for your new venture. 
A: Thanks and all the best to, keep up the good work!

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