New Delhi: Jeakson Singh Thanoujam says India “deserved a result” in their favour after his bullet header against Colombia became the country’s first-ever goal in any FIFA World Cup.
Playing in their second FIFA U-17 World Cup game against Colombia, debutants India had the fancied South American nation at their mercy on more than two occasions in front of more than 46,000 vociferous crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
India’s glorious moment arrived when Jeakson headed in a perfect Sanjeev Stalin corner in the 82nd minute.
“It was a nice experience and I felt on cloud nine when I scored the goal, however we tried our best but were unlucky.
It is obviously a great feeling to score for my country in a FIFA World Cup but it would have been sweeter had we won the match. To me in fact it does not even matter as long as we score.
“We deserved a result, and we tried our very best to get it, but in the process we learnt a huge lesson what international football is all about,” the 16-year-old Jeakson, who plays as a midfielder, said.
His joy last night was rather short-lived as Colombia took the lead a minute later and made it 2-1.
Jeakson, a defensive midfielder in the 21-member Indian team, hails from from Haokha Mamang village in Manipur’s Thoubal district. His father Konthoujam Deben Singh suffered a stroke in 2015 and had to leave his job with the Manipur police.
His family is now dependent on the meagre income brought by his mother from selling vegetables at the Khwairamband Bazar in Imphal, 25km from her home.
Jeakson had to face the disappointment of being rejected by the national selectors in 2015 when he was with an academy in Chandigarh.
At nearly six feet, he was called unnaturally tall for a boy of that age, according to former coach Nicolai Adam.
But his indomitable will brought him back into the Indian team for the U-17 World Cup.
He will go down in the Indian sporting history as the one who gave unbridled joy to millions with a strike that will be etched in memory.