20-year-old Indian goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem was called up for the Indian senior national team camp two months ago.
Dheeraj reveals that the camp itself proved to be a catalyst in his incredible performances for his club FC Goa in the AFC Champions League recently.
The young shot-stopper was twice named in the AFC Champions League's Team of the Week for his performances and played a major role in FC Goa securing the third spot in Group E.
While speaking to AIFF TV, Dheeraj revealed the reason behind his performances as he said, "I got the National Team call-up right after the Hero ISL. It gave me the opportunity to travel with the Senior Team to the UAE. It was a big motivation for me to train with Gurpreet paaji and Amrinder paaji. I was so motivated at that point that I reported straight to Goa after we came back.”
He added, "Getting into the National Team had a big impact on my confidence. Our coach also gave us a lot of confidence, taking the pressure off from our shoulders. He just told us to go out there and play our normal game, and that’s what we did."
Speaking about the AFC Champions League in which FC Goa were in a tough group, Dheeraj spoke about the reaction of his friends as he said, "I still remember when the AFC Champions League started, many of my friends asked whether I was ready, and how many goals I expected to concede."
However, the Gaurs were pretty impressive and Dheeraj acknowledged that as he concluded, "We came up as a very strong team that was disciplined and difficult to score against. We did really well in the first two games, and that really gave us confidence to go forward for the rest of the matches. I think it was the benefit of playing the Hero ISL, that we had moved forward together, and could perform at that level."