Coming back after a two-year injury layoff, Indian football team mid-fielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh says he is “fit” and raring to go in the upcoming ISL followed by international assignments.
Lyngdoh, 34, played a part in helping India secure a spot in the 2019 Asian Cup but got injured during the qualification campaign, which meant he could not make the squad for the premier continental tournament.
“I know I’ve lost a couple of years due to that injury, but now I am fit and ready to go out there,” said Eugene, as he prepares for the upcoming season in the SC East Bengal colours.
“Now I have to maintain my fitness levels and be up for selection so that I can play,” he told AIFF TV.
Although he was not a part of the Blue Tigers’ 2019 AFC Asian Cup campaign in UAE, his team-mates and assistant coach Shanmugam Venkatesh believed Lyngdoh was instrumental to India’s qualification.
“He had a huge contribution towards our qualification to AFC Asian Cup 2019. We missed him in UAE,” said Venkatesh, a former India captain.
“His international career started late but on his debut, against Nepal in Guwahati, it didn’t look like he was playing his first game for India.”
India captain Sunil Chhetri stated that Lyngdoh was a big reason why the team made it to the continental stage.
“The whole team and I missed him so much at the Asian Cup. He was an important reason why we qualified in the first case,” said Chhetri.
‘Eugene’, as he is fondly called in the dressing room, had become a regular in the Blue Tigers starting XI before injury ruled him out for a prolonged period.
“Injury is the last thing that any player thinks of at any given point of time in his career. But when you get a bad injury, you require a lot of mental strength to keep going,” said Lyngdoh, reflecting on the tough times that now lay behind him.
“It’s a part of the game, and I have learnt to accept that we can’t play football and not get injured. It’s something that everyone has to take into consideration.”
He went on to describe how difficult it gets when a player has to sit out for long due to an injury.
“Injury is the most difficult thing in football. It plays with your mind, so it’s important to stay strong psychologically.
“It’s not easy when you see that your teammates are fit and up and running, while you are still injured or recovering. But in the end, what really defines you is how you get back from the injury,” he said.