Indian-American defender Namit Deshpande, who started against Colombia, understands the enormity of his record, but he has still to figure out what he wants to do next – play football or continue his education at Eastern Regional School in New Jersey.
For now, all he wants to do is relax at his grandparents’ home in Hyderabad and celebrate Diwali with his family. After all, he says, it’s been 10 years since the family got together for this festival.
“The past four-five months have been really tiring. We travelled a lot as a team and played quite a few games in Europe. We prepared ourselves in the best possible way. I’ve learnt a lot in the past few months. But now I just want to relax by spending some time with my family, and I’m doing just that,” he told TOI from Hyderabad.
Though the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has plans to start an I-League team with the boys who played in the tournament, many Indian Super League (ISL) clubs have approached the lads with high-paying contracts. Deshpande though is reluctant to reveal if any club has approached him and he keeps reiterating the fact that he does not know what to do next.
“Once I go back to the USA, I plan on going back to the drawing board and look at my options. I am not sure as yet on what I want to do in the future and will speak with my parents on the pros and cons of either decision,” he says.
Though he is free to make his choices, Deshpande says he always seeks his parents’ counsel before taking any big decision.
“Look, it’s because of them that I’ve come so far. I remember all those nights when my father would come back from work and take me out for running or training regardless of how tired he was. My mother would drive me for games and training sessions regardless of what other people said about me playing football. I owe it to them and it would be unfair to decide anything on my own,” he says.
In Namit’s debut game in the World Cup (vs Colombia), India looked poised to earn a 1-1 draw. After scoring, the lads were probably just a little excited by the magnitude of their achievement which was perhaps the reason for them losing concentration and conceding soon. Deshpande says it was the biggest lesson they’ve learnt.
“When we scored the goal, we were excited. We didn’t really think about making history, but tried to focus on getting another goal. It was disappointing when we conceded again but as they say, ‘you are most vulnerable when you have just scored’. With experience we will improve on this.”
For the time being, he’s enjoying Diwali with sweets and fireworks.
Source : timesofindia