By Soumo Ghosh,
AIFF Media Team
New Delhi: Football is known to be a great equaliser. One may have suffered big losses in life, but if they work hard and persevere through their endeavours, they very well may go on to fulfill their dreams later on. Churchill Brother’s fullback Chesterpaul Lyngdoh is a prime example of that. The youngster, having come through the ranks at Sports Authority of India (Shillong), first made his mark last season at Mohun Bagan where he was a regular starter under former gaffer Sanjoy Sen.
“It’s always difficult for youngsters to play for a club like Mohun Bagan,” Chesterpaul said to I-League.org. “There’s always a lot of pressure to perform. But the good thing is that the fans are very passionate and are always behind you.”
While last season was a breakthrough campaign for the young fullback, ‘Chester’, as he is known in the dressing room, has become a key part of the Churchill Brothers side under Petre Gigiu that has so far only lost once against the title-challengers this season.
A tragic beginning
He may now be a regular for one of the top clubs in the country now, but the young fullback suffered a terrible tragedy back in his formative years, something that he believes motivated him to work hard and get to where he is right now.
A 14-year-old Chester had lost his father, who fell from a window in a freak accident. What made things even more complicated for his family was the fact that his widowed mother had to raise a total of seven children all by herself.
“I really admire my mother for the mental strength that she showed after the incident. Soon after I lost my father, I got the offer to join SAI Shillong,” said Chesterpaul.
“She encouraged me to pursue football at that early age. I knew that I had to work hard for the sake of my family, and make it as a top-level footballer,” he continued. “I also had a lot of help from my uncle and my elder brother, encouraged me to move to Pune, where I got my first professional contract.”
Putting it all behind
The tragic episode in Chester’s life is long gone, however, and the 21-year-old is now well on his way towards forming a successful career in the beautiful game.
Having played in the top league in the country for almost two seasons now, Chester believes that players need to make a lot of adjustments in order to do well in the Hero I-League.
“There’s a huge difference between the other tournaments and the I-League, especially because you are up against so many quality foreign players,” he said. “On the flip side, you also get to play alongside a number of good foreign players in your team.
“This is really beneficial for young Indian players, as we learn a lot from these guys. I get a lot of help from guys like Willis Plaza and Anthony Wolfe during training, and I try to inculcate their advice when I’m playing in the matches,” said Chester.
Other than the foreigners, Chester also believes that the diversity of venues in Hero I-League also makes the tournament very difficult.
“As a player, you have to adjust so much to various conditions in this league. You have venues like Srinagar, where the temperatures are near freezing, and then you have places like Kozhikode, where its always well above 30 degrees Celcius,” Chester opined.
Despite this diversity, Churchill Brothers have risen way above their levels last season, and have held their own against the toughest of oppositions, even in extreme conditions.
Although their chances of winning the 12th edition of the Hero I-League depend on quite a few other parameters, Chester and his teammates will give their all to take the silverware back to Goa again.