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Breakfast with champions

ASHWIN ACHAL
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FOOTBALL T. Amoes and V. Stephen have played a vital role in tournaments for Karnataka and their club, the South United Football club

Sporting successStephen and Amoes hope to do better in the upcoming seasonPhoto: Sampath Kumar g.p.
Sporting successStephen and Amoes hope to do better in the upcoming seasonPhoto: Sampath Kumar g.p.

The young duo of T. Amoes and V. Stephen has recently struck big for their State and club. Karnataka reached the quarterfinal league of the recently concluded Santosh Trophy, where Amoes (six goals) and Stephen (10 goals) took centre stage. Meanwhile, their fine form also helped South United Football Club grab second spot in the BDFA Super Division league. Stephen, 25, states that his show at the Santosh Trophy in Kerala was a personal success, but mentions that the team deserved a better finish. “Everything was set for Karnataka to go all the way in the Santosh Trophy. We were playing well, but we lost to Punjab in the quarterfinal league. I would say we were unlucky,” he says. Amoes, his striking partner also did well in Kerala. The 19-year-old credits the extra hours he put into his training as the key to his success.

“After our regular practice sessions with the team, I went and worked on my game by playing with my friends at grounds near my house in Murphy Town. I think those sessions helped me quite a bit,” he says.

Amoes isn’t the biggest player around, but he regularly shows tremendous physical strength to box out his markers. Once again, the teenager points to a strict training routine as the reason for this trait. “Once we're done at the ground, I head to the gymnasium. It's better to always keep focus; there is no point in wasting time by doing things which does improve my football skills,” he says. For Stephen, a considerable part of his training regimen is spent improving his efficiency in front of goal. “The Karnataka coach worked on my finishing techniques during practice. He gave me tips on how a striker should move, and how he must get into good positions to score goals.”

Stephen, who stays in Jalahalli, also draws a lot of positives from playing the sport with his mates from the neighbourhood. After a successful stint with KGF Academy in Karnataka's premier club league, both footballers were signed by newly-formed South United Football Club (SUFC) for the 2012-13 season. By reaching the second division I-League (national club competition), SUFC did well to give itself a chance to rub shoulders with giants like East Bengal and Churchill Brothers. However, the team did not make the main draw, exiting the race after collecting only seven points from seven matches. The pair spoke after SUFC's final fixture in the second division phase, and a sense of disappointment was clearly visible in their reactions. “This campaign has ended, but we're determined to make to the main draw next year,” Amoes says.

“SUFC has given us so much, and I feel that it we are duty-bound to repay them with good results. Our coach Raman Vijayan is showing us the way to return as a better team next year,” adds Stephen. Amoes and Stephen state that they have had a strong passion for football right from childhood, and that they now revel in the opportunity to pursue a career in it. “I have only had football on my mind right, throughout my life. Any free time is always spent in a football field and nowhere else," Amoes says, while Stephen indicates that he shares the same love for the sport. Amoes, whose recent performances have seen him being called to the India under-22 camp, is confident that his career will hit new highs soon. Stephen, who still has quite a few years of good football to go, aims for an upward trend as well.

ASHWIN ACHAL

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