Ganguly “Age shouldn’t keep Subrata out, what matters is performance”

Source: India Abroad News Service

By Jagannath Chatterjee

New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS) Young Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem’s maiden national team call-up for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan and Oman has once again started the debate whether coach Igor Stimac is looking only at young goalkeepers and if that also possibly means the end of the road for stalwart Subrata Pal. But former India skipper Bhaskar Ganguly, one of the finest goalkeeper of his time, feels it would be unfair to judge Pal on the basis of his age.

Speaking to IANS, Ganguly said that Pal’s age should not come in the way of him joining the national team because he has been performing better than all his contemporaries.

“I don’t think age should be a factor. What matters is performance. If one performs then where is the question of omitting him? See at one point of time everybody has to go, but then if one keeps performing, that needs to be considered,” he said in support of the 32-year-old player.

Stimac said that his first-choice goalkeepers are Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Amrinder Singh. And to include Dheeraj clearly means that the coach is looking at youngsters under the bar.

But Ganguly feels it is unfair to ignore a veteran who is better than the rest. Ganguly also pointed out that the players who have been playing the leagues for six or seven years are still referred to as juniors.

“Are they really junior?” he asked. “The case is same with the Indian team, a player who is there in the circuit for several years, got a chance in the Indian team for the first time and we call him junior,” he said.

Ganguly also dismissed the doping controversy surrounding Pal saying that the footballer has not been proven guilty. “No way that could be a reason”, Ganguly said. “He was not proven guilty. And if he is not guilty then how can that matter? Had that been the reason then how he is playing in the ISL.”

Currently a member of the ISL team Jamshedpur FC, Pal represented the country over a period of almost 12 years and has played 76 matches. He is looking to make the most of this ISL season to stake a claim for a return to the national team.

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