Thursday, June 22, 2023

Former Aircraftman checks in the Garden City

More than a decade back, 13 seasons ago to be precise, a shy looking 19-year-old Nepalese boy was introduced to Indian Football. Rohit Chand was signed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under the Asian quota rule for their mission to I-League in 2010-11 season. 

While HAL rather had a dull season, somehow managing to stay afloat in the league, but a few marked impression among the football loving fans of the Garden City, and Rohit Chand was among one of them. 

Rohit lasted with the public sector aerospace and defence establishment for two seasons, as much as the team lasted in Indian Football, thanks to AFC's tedious club licensing criteria especially for the public sector units. From thereon, his journey would only go upwards – representing the senior Nepal national team, playing league in Indonesia and Malaysia for several seasons, and finally becoming one of the greatest footballing ambassadors of this Himalayan nation. 

Rohit is back in Bengaluru, doing National duty for Nepal in SAFF Championship. He has visited other cities in India, Delhi in during Nehru Cup and Thiruvananthapuram for SAFF Championship, but first time in the Garden City after leaving HAL. 

Playing the first game of the tournament yesterday, Nepal, comprising of a relatively younger batch suffered a loss against Kuwait. The evening rains lifted Rohit’s mood. He was recalling his HAL team mates, for many have hanged their boots and, taken up football coaching. 

Though the infamous Bangalore traffic brought the team late in the Kanteerava Stadium to witness the game between India and Pakistan, Rohit was seen taking notes. 

He quips, “we’ll play a better game on Saturday.”

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