In conversation with Malsawmzuala, the young footballer from Mizoram to watch out for


Malsawmzuala is a Central Defensive Midfielder for current I-League Champions Bengaluru FC, the 18-year old from Mizoram was a part of the winning squad last season and is seen as somebody to definitely look out for in the sports scene in the country. He was awarded the Bengaluru FC Upcoming Player of the Year award. Like many other footballers from the state, he started playing football at the age of 5 where he participated in local tournaments. His love of the game only grew and by the time he was 12, he decided to take it on more seriously.

Malsawmzuala feels deeply connected to Bengaluru FC and loves playing for the club, the support of the West Block Blues is prime example of the ever growing football base of the country, he says. He also adds that the ISL has made people more involved with the game and he strongly believes that football and cricket can co-exist in every Indian household.

On being asked about the future of Indian sport, he says,"I hope Indian sport as a whole will wake up from its slumber and compete with the elite countries of the world." Being from a small state, he expresses how blessed he feels and how it is nothing short of a miracle that he is where he is. "Once I got selected for the state U-14 team for Subroto Cup/National Tournament I completely immersed myself in the training sessions and gave the best every single day. I always try to give my 100% in every training session and try to be the earliest every time."

After being inducted into the national team and the Elite Academy which is run by the AIFF, he was then signed by Bengaluru FC. On talking about football and the Northeast region, he states,"People from Northeast especially my state have a great passion for football. At a local football tournament, you'll see toddlers sitting with their grandfathers in the stands. Football is a religion and it gives me immense pleasure to learn that what was once considered a local profession with low income has now turned into a lucrative career option. It has changed the minds of many educated parents and has convinced them to allow their children to take up their passion for football."

Malsawmzuala has overcome many obstacles to get to where he is and although being a footballer is a dream, there are many difficulties. One of the hardest challenges is being home just two months a year and being so far from his friends and family, however he still counts his blessings every single day.

(By Jessica Passah)

images: Susmit Kar/Football Solutions and Facebook (Malsawmzuala)