6/1/2018 2:02:07 PM (GMT+3)

Indian-origin Kiwi midfielder Sarpreet keen to impress at Intercontinental Cup

Indian-origin Kiwi midfielder Sarpreet keen to impress at Intercontinental Cup

MUMBAI: Raised in Auckland to India-born parents, New Zealand’s attacking midfielder Sarpreet Singh’s dream to represent All Whites turned true when he played against Canada in a friendly in March.

But the 19-year-old could earn his first cap in an international competition when the Kiwis face Kenya in their opening match at the four-nation Intercontinental here at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday.  

“I’m ready for the challenge though I don’t know much about the other opponents and how they play, but the important thing is how we want to play,” Singh said on Friday. “Personally, for me to get some match time is good and which will help me to get better.”

Singh, who turned pro last year with Wellington Phoenix, said that the dream to become professional kick-started after he watched the top leagues on the TV.

“Watching professional players on TV inspired me a lot. I’ve always just wanted to be like them and to be able to do that now is a special feeling,” said Singh, who has represented New Zealand at both the U17 and U20 World Cups.

Asked how was the feeling when he signed for Phoenix, Singh, who has his roots in India, added, “It was a truly amazing feeling and just pure joy and happiness. It was easily one of the best moments in my life. To live as a pro every single day is special and it means a lot to me.”

As a youngster, Singh used to train five days a week with Wynton Rufer’s Academy and with Onehunga club, as well as playing futsal.

“He’s a huge talent and got a great future. I think the longer we keep in New Zealand the better,” said Phoenix interim coach Chris Greenacre, who will work with Singh in his role as Des Buckingham’s assistant with the national under-20 team. “He’s got an ability to be able to run with the ball at pace and still deliver accurate passes.”