India U-19 striker finds training partner in his mother during shutdown
NEW DELHI: Amid the coronavirus-induced confinement in the country, athletes find it difficult to continue their training, but U19 Indian forward Ninthoinganba Meetei has found a solution while training with his mother in the courtyard of his House.
I am not used to staying out for long. I wanted to go back to the field again. While kicking in the yard, my mother saw me and said she would help me train. I knew I couldn't play soccer, so I was wondering how we could train together, the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) quoted Meetei saying.
I soon realized that when I was younger, I used to play volleyball. And you still know some basics of the game. So I came up with the idea of playing foot tennis. I would just use my feet and mom would use her hands like you do in volleyball, she added.
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There are no friends to train with during #Lockdown ❌No problem 👍 N-19 winger Ninthoinganba Meetei trains with his best friend ... https://t.co/CrvBMz1VQe - Indian soccer team (@IndianFootball) 1589095976000
Ninthoi, as the 18-year-old is affectionately called in the locker room, has been looking for different ways to train while staying within the confines of his home during confinement. However, it was the participation of his mother, Kh Meena Leima That really helped him find an exercise that allows him to practice his touches on the ball and also run around a bit.
This little game we play has given us both a good workout. Of course, we can't play when it rains, but it is so much fun playing with my mother. And she has also been enjoying the game. She did not play volleyball for many years, but now that we have been playing for some time, I can clearly see that she is improving, the forward said.
After joining the AIFF Elite Academy In 2013, Ninthoi has had a steady progression over the years. The agile extreme came to form the Indian squad in the FIFA U17 World Cup India 2017, starting in all matches in the Indian group stage.
Ninthoi earned his first professional contract when he signed with Indian Arrows in the 2017-18 I-League season. Remembering that moment, he said: It meant that my mother no longer had to sell fish in the market. I could support her and my two sisters.
She always called me her 'little bodyguard' when I used to accompany her or my sisters to the market or school. Now I felt like I was really taking care of my family, he added.
Since then, the young winger has played two seasons for the Indian Arrows, hosting 27 appearances in the I-League and Super Cup, with two goals to his name.
After these performances, Ninthoi was captured by the Indian Super League club NorthEast United FC where he made 11 appearances in the 2019-20 season.
Now that I am a professional soccer player, I can safely say that no one in my family has to sell fish in the markets anymore. But I will never forget my mother's contribution to my development, she concluded.