New Bengaluru FC signing Ashique Kuruniyan has revealed that he had started his career as a sprinter before his PE teacher asked him to play as a left winger in the school team. BFC skipper Sunil Chhetri was all praise for the youngster stating him as a pure talent who doesn’t understand pressure.
The 22-year-old left-winger, who caught eyeballs with FC Pune City last season before impressing at the AFC Asian Cup as well, has revealed that becoming a footballer was not his plan initially. And he came across it only after a sudden opportunity in his school team.
“I used to be a sprinter. I was first in my school and district. But my school once needed a left-winger. So my PE teacher told me, ‘just like how you run 100m, run here and cross the ball.’ That is how it started,” said Kuruniyan, reported Sportstar.
“My only dream then was to play for the district team. It might not seem big now, but it was important for me. Now when you dream, it might be about playing abroad, playing in the ISL, etc. But back then it was just about the district team. Then it became the State team, then Pune FC, then National U-19 team and so on,” the winger added.
Before making it big, Kuruniyan has been regularly playing in Kerala’s famed seven-a-side tournaments and credited his development immensely to it, stating that it also made him stronger.
“I learnt to play tough. There are no red cards there. Only yellow. The referee doesn't even have a red card. It is very rough and you get hit a lot. Initially there was a lot of fear, of getting hit by the elbow etc. So I had to become stronger.”
BFC would be getting down to the field with a fearsome attack with the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Kuruniyan, and Udanta Singh leading the front three and Raphael Augusto playing the creator. And the BFC skipper sent a warning to the full-backs ahead of the season.
“I can just say all the best to all the full-backs who are going to play against us. Ashique is naive... in the sense that he doesn't understand what pressure is. Tell him ‘do this, this, this,' and he will do that. As raw as he is, he is just pure talent.
“He is fast and powerful and is scared of no one. He just plays with the motive of going forward. If he does what we think he can do and learns quickly, you will see a proper superstar for the country,” Chhetri said.