GUWAHATI, Jan 18 - Chennaiyin FC�s Baoringdao Bodo became the youngest ever to play in the Indian Super League (ISL) when coach John Gregory named him in the starting XI in their lung opener against FC Goa in Chennai on November 19 last year. Just 18 � this boy from Haflong has come a long way to make a mark for the country in age-group football and now is looking to make it big in senior football as well.
In an interview with The Assam Tribune, Bodo said about his experience rubbing shoulders with the likes of Jeje Lalpekhlua and other foreigners in the CFC team. He also talks about his first brush with football after seeing Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Bodo also has not forgotten to speak about Vanlal Bongpui, his first coach who gave him his first break, and Thomson Langthasa, the former Assam captain, who saw the spark in the young boy and sent him to SAI Guwahati where he could give wings to his dreams.
Excerpts from the interview:
Assam Tribune: You became the youngest player to feature in an ISL match, how does it feel?
Baoringdao Bodo: It was a very good feeling. It would�ve been much better if the team would�ve won, but we lost 2-3 to FC Goa. But I would like to thank the coach and the Chennaiyin family for believing in me and giving me the opportunity.
AT: How much are you learning everyday playing alongside the likes of Jeje and the other international stars in your team?
BB: Everyday I learn a lot, both on and off the pitch. The senior players are very professional, they take things very seriously. It is important for someone young like me to be on my toes and observe all I can from the senior players.
AT: A word on coach John Gregory and what did he tell you before your debut match against FC Goa? Were you surprised that you made it to the starting XI?
BB: I have been working hard and giving my best in training. The coach was happy with me and decided to start with me. To be honest, I was surprised that I was in the starting XI. I knew I would play, but I didn�t know I would start. He advised me to treat it like any other match and play my natural game.
AT: What was your initial feeling when you were picked by Chennaiyin FC and how did your family react to this development?
BB: I always focus on myself, trying to become a better player. My only thought is to play and make the club and my family as proud as possible. My family was very happy Chennaiyin FC picked me and have always been supportive of me playing football.
AT: Tell us something about your journey from Haflong to SAI Guwahati and then to the AIFF Elite Academy in Goa and now ISL?
BB: When I was 12, I was at SAI, whom I represented at the Nationals. I was then scouted by AIFF coaches and that was my first step towards developing as a player.