Talk Football – An interview with the promising young footballer from Ukhrul: Wungngayam Muirang

"Unconditional family support key to my footballing journey".

Wungngayam Muirang is a 21-year-old rising football star who recently signed for Indian Super League (ISL) side Bengaluru Football Club (BFC). He played in the I-League for Gokulam Kerala FC (on loan from Pune City FC) last season and starred for the Pune City FC reserve side before joining BFC. He plays left-centre back/left back and was called up to the India Under – 23 squad in February 2019 for the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship.

He spoke to Ukhrul Times about his footballing journey, struggles and more. Excerpts from the interview:

First of all congratulations on signing for Bengaluru Football Club! Tell us a little bit about you and your footballing journey so far.

Thank you.My name is Wungngayam Muirang and I am from Hunphun and started my football journey very young. I remember playing as soon as I could walk, kicking football in the streets, local grounds, our and neighbour’s compound. I played football most of the time whenever I was free. As I started representing Ukhrul district, I became more focused and serious in the game. One day I heard there was a trial for Sports Authority of India (SAI) but had no football boot to wear as it was torn.  So I had no choice but to ask a friend to borrow his boot which he readily agreed. I went for a trial with the borrowed boot, got selected and everything changed from there.

Given the apprehension in our society regarding making a living as a professional footballer, how important has been the support of your family?

I would like to thank my family for giving me unconditional support. They have always been there for me through my hard times and played the biggest role in my life.

How difficult was the transition from playing Reserve team football with Pune City FC to first team football with Gokulam Kerala FC in the I-League?

Playing in I-League for the first time was really hard for me because I was coming from the youth team. The first season after they sacked the coach, a new coach came in and it didn’t go well for me until the end of the season.  In the next season the same coach who signed me came back again and he gave me the opportunity to play. It was good for me to get playing time. I learned a lot, on and off the pitch from the coaches, foreign players and senior Indian players playing in the I-league.

At 21 don’t you feel signing for BFC, who we all know have a star studded line-up, will impact your growth as a footballer in case if you don’t break into the first team squad and play regular football?

Frankly, I am not worried about that. It is up to me to work hard and give my all. If I impress the coaches it does not matter whether they are star players or not I will be on the same pitch as them.

Lastly, apart from hard work and dedication, what message would you want to convey to our aspiring young Tangkhul footballers?

Believe in yourself, believe in what you are doing and I am sure you will achieve soon what you have always been dreaming. Go Tangkhulnao!

Follow Yamboi Muirang on Instagram. Link below.

Pune
Ukhrul Times

Michael is a sports enthusiast and an Indian football fan

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