Sivasagar: Footballer Pranjal Bhumij is a busy man. A native of Sivasagar district in Assam, the 19-year-old striker of Mumbai City FC is all set to start this year’s campaign in the ongoing Indian Soccer League (ISL) against Jamshedpur on Tuesday.
Mumbai City are already on a high after ending their 16-day pre-season tour across Thailand on September 15 with three victories and one draw in their pocket. An in-form Bhumij also performed well during the tour.
Hailing from Panibeel Dwarika Nagar in upper Assam’s Sivasagar district, Bhumiij graduated from the Sports Authority of India’s Guwahati centre to join I-League outfit DSK Shivajians, Pune, in the 2017 season, before signing for Mumbai City FC.
When Bhumij visited his native place about a month ago, ahead of the pre-season tour, he didn’t forget to visit the playground where he started to play football. “Right from my childhood, I was a very normal child, who liked to play football. I learnt to play and practise football here. I really miss it,” Bhumij said, pointing towards the ground.
During the visit, he even played football in the same ground and gave some tips to the young footballers of his locality. “I feel nostalgic when I visit this ground. Whatever I know about football, I share it with these young footballers. Whenever I get time, I always want to visit my place. I enjoy sharing my experience with these kids,” he said.
Thanking everyone for their support and guidance during his journey from Sivasagar to the front-ranking soccer grounds of the world, a soft-spoken Bhumij also urged the state government to improve the condition of the village football ground. “We have enough talent in the village. If the state government gives proper attention to groom these players, some more good players will be seen,” added Bhumij, whose father is a daily wage-earner.
Commenting on his performance, Bhumij’s mother expressed happiness at getting to see her son’s photos everywhere. "Pranjal started playing football at an early age of four years. However, we have had to face severe hardships to pay for his training,” she said.
“We manage with whatever we get from our daily earnings. Sometimes, we borrow to run the family. But we always try our best not to affect his football preparation because of paucity of funds. Earlier, we had to give him some money, but these days he is managing of his own,” she said.