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Time for Dheeraj Singh to relaunch his career at FC Goa after frustrating stint at ATK


It’s been almost a year since the young goalkeeper made his last appearance in competition …

Dheeraj Singh recorded more than 20 appearances in competitive football between 2017 and 2019, but has only had one game to show since 2020.

Having started in all three games for India at the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India, he joined the Indian Arrows squad in the I-League where he kept a clean sheet in six matches before entering the Indian Super League (ISL) in the 2018-19 season.

His impressive performance with Kerala Blasters in ISL Season 5 made him the preferred choice when Derrick Pereira, now FC Goa technical director, was the coach of the Indian U-23 national team in the qualifiers of the AFC U-23 Championship 2020 which took place in March 2019.

However, 13 games after being the first pick with the Blasters later, Dheeraj strayed from his path when he decided to join the Kolkatan ATK squad last season. He won the ISL medal with the club, but it came at the cost of one game – when he started the 2-2 draw against Bengaluru FC in the last league game of the season in February 2020 .

As a result, Dheeraj was also overlooked by Indian senior national team coach Igor Stimac after the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan and Oman in November 2019. The name of the former U- 17 World Cupper was not among the Indians for India. camp that was to be held in March 2020 before the world was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

After ATK’s merger with Mohun Bagan, he signed a new deal with ATK Mohun Bagan for the 2020-21 ISL season, but has yet to play a game as other young prospects have been granted time to regular play.

Dheeraj Singh FC Goa ISL 7

Dheeraj has since joined FC Goa in the January 2021 transfer window and was named squad of the day in the 1-1 draw against the Kerala Blasters last weekend. While Nawaz has fallen out of favor after failing to reach an agreement to extend his stay with the Goan squad, the opportunity is a perfect fit for 20-year-old Dheeraj, who has signed a three-year contract with the club.

There are promising signs for the Manipuri goalkeeper as the Goan side have already put their trust in young talents such as Nawaz and Savior Gama who have put in impressive performances. However, he will have to move Naveen Kumar first.