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Crucial for goalkeepers to maintain the balance on the field, says Padma Shri Brahmanand Sankhwalkar

NEW DELHI: Former Indian National Team captain and goalkeeper Brahmanand Sankhwalkar who was last week conferred the prestigious Padma Shri Award feels that the “art of goalkeeping has changed a lot in modern times.”

“There have been a lot of improvement in goalkeepers over time since my playing days,” averred Brahmanand in a chat with “Nowadays you have taller goalkeepers who are extremely agile, and good with the ball at their feet,” he added.

Brahmanand, who is eighth Indian footballer to be conferred with the Padma Shri title by the Government of India, joining the likes of Late Gostho Paul, Late Sailen Manna, Late Chuni Goswami, Late PK Banerjee, Bhaichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri, and Bembem Devi in the feat, was himself an extremely acrobatic keeper, whose reflexes earned him huge accolades.

“A goalkeeper has a completely different view of the game, and can really influence the positioning of his teammates,” opined Brahmanand. “But he also needs to maintain the balance. You can’t be too much into what others are doing, and in the process completely forget what you are supposed to do yourself. One needs to keep focus, and instruct his teammates in the crucial areas. This comes with maturity,” he maintained.

While there is improvement in keepers these days, the Padma Shri awardee feels that there are a few aspects of a goalkeeper’s learning process that has remained unchanged.

“One thing that holds true even now is that keepers need to be constantly encouraged, and need to be given match time to mature as footballers. It’s important to build that competitive mindset,” he explained.

At the end, however, the 67-year-old feels that it all comes down to the passion of the individuals to keep improving themselves.

“No matter all the facilities that one gets, passion and self-discipline are two of the most important things for not just goalkeepers, but any footballer,” the Padma Shri awardee expressed. “If you have passion for the game, you won’t get tired, no matter how hard you are working. It’s always important to have that mentality.”

By Soumo Ghosh,
AIFF Media Team

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