Under 17 World Cup: Amarjit Singh and Jeakson Singh – brothers in armsOctober 3, 2017
PANAJI: India captain Amarjit Singh and cousin Jeakson Singh have been anchoring midfields since they were six.
At first, it was difficult for them to stick to their roles. “We would run wherever we wanted.
It was carefree football,”recalls Jeakson, the younger of the two, before they realised that their strength was being together on the field. It worked well for them at their village of Haokhao in Thoubal district of Manipur. Also at the nearby school they studied, and at the Chandigarh Football Academy where they were enrolled at age 11. But it is at the Fifa U-17 World Cup that they will face the biggest tests of their life, together.
“Since we have been playing together (in midfield) all our life, we’ve got exceptional understanding. It works well for us,”said Jeakson, who broke into the India U-17 squad just six months ago.
Jeakson’s father, Deben, introduced him and Amarjit to the game. Nobody had any great expectations from the duo. In fact, Jeakson’s father – a former footballer who did duty for Manipur Police – wanted him to become a doctor. Jeakson, however, was never inclined towards anything but football and is now poised to partner his cousin on the biggest stage at this level.
“I know a lot of people say we will not measure up to the challenge at the World Cup. We have to prove them wrong. We have been training hard. We have the quality too,”said the Minerva FC captain. For the last six months that they’ve been together in the Indian camp, their partnership has been hard to ignore, particularly with India coach Luis Norton de Matos regularly favouring a 4-2-3-1 formation.
In the four-nation tournament in Mexico, de Matos used Amarjit and Jeakson for two of the three international friendlies, although with Suresh Singh, who captained India at the AFC U-16 Championship last year, also jostling for the same position, the coach will have a tough choice to make. Whatever the decision, the brothers in arms have come a long way .