Akhil Rawat
AIFF Media Team

KOZHIKODE: Sreenidi Deccan FC’s Konsam Phalguni Singh is a man of few words. He was quick to give a wide smile when he was announced as the Hero of the Match in Sreenidi’s 2-0 win over Kerala Blasters on Wednesday, and even quicker to breathe a sigh of relief when he was told there was no post-match interview.

“I don’t like live interviews,” said Phalguni, who was instrumental in Sreenidi Deccan’s victory as they became the first Hero I-League club to beat a Hero ISL side in the 2023 Hero Super Cup. Sreenidi are now joint-top of the Group A table alongside Bengaluru FC and will progress to the semi-finals should they better the Blues’ results against the Blasters in their game versus RoundGlass Punjab on Sunday.

While Kerala Blasters saw plenty of the ball throughout the game, Sreenidi Deccan relied on quick and clear-cut transitions. More often than not, the protagonist of such transitions was Phalguni Singh. Positioned the highest up the pitch among the midfield trio of Faysal Shayesteh and Mayakkannan, he was key in distributing balls to both wingers – Rosenberg Gabriel and Rilwan Hassan – who made plenty of inroads behind the Kerala Blasters’ backline.

It was a proper team effort from Carlos Vaz Pinto’s side. After taking a 2-0 lead with them at the break thanks to splendid strikes from Hassan and captain David Castaneda, Sreenidi were solid as a rock at the back, sustaining all the pressure from Kerala Blasters, who were in no mood to give up, especially with the continuous support they received from a sizable crowd at the EMS Corporation Stadium.

“We have been playing with a lot of effort and enthusiasm,” said Phalguni, who obliged for a short chat with the-aiff.com after the game. “Everyone is playing for each other, and that is showing through our team effort.”

Regarding his Hero of the Match performance, he was as humble as it gets. “I feel really good, but I will try to do even better in the next match. In terms of improvement, I would like to try and score more goals and provide more assists.”

Phalguni has been part of Sreenidi Deccan since the club’s first Hero I-League season in 2021-22. Before that, he was a local hero for his hometown club TRAU FC, helping them win promotion from the 2nd Division League to the I-League for the first time.

In the last two seasons, the 28-year-old has played all but two matches for the Sreenidi Deccan, which just goes to show his reliability in the team. “Since I came to Sreenidi Deccan, they have given me all the tools and facilities to develop as a player, so I would like to thank them for the same. It has been a really good two years,” he shared.

What he lacks physically, he makes up for it with his quick feet and sharp turns. Swift one-twos, dirty nutmegs, cheeky lobs – Phalguni does it all. A man of few words on the pitch too, he doesn’t need to call for passes. Everyone passes to Phalguni, and Phalguni passes to everyone.

“On the pitch, we always play with confidence,” he affirmed.