India will be at its best against Belgium: Araijeet

Charged up for the quarterfinals, says drag-flick specialist

November 29, 2021 11:04 pm | Updated December 02, 2021 07:53 am IST - BHUBANESWAR

Rising star: Araijeet has scored five goals, including a hat-trick, in the tournament so far.

Rising star: Araijeet has scored five goals, including a hat-trick, in the tournament so far.

Seventeen-year-old striker-cum-drag-flicker Araijeet Singh Hundal says the Indian players understand the importance of maintaining their energy level in the quarterfinal against Belgium in the Junior World Cup here on Wednesday.

Hundal said his team would give its best in the last-eight match.

Learning from errors

“I feel we took our first match (against France) too lightly, but have learnt from our mistakes. We are fully charged up for the quarterfinals against Belgium. We had a meeting, especially for forwards, today and we know even one small mistake or slight drop in energy will cost us dearly. We are totally focused on playing our ‘A’ game,” said Araijeet.

Araijeet, who has scored five goals including a hat-trick, underscored the importance of the JWC.

“I was just 12 when the 2016 JWC was held in Lucknow. I don’t know much about that tournament. But I am aware of how that tournament changed many players’ lives,” he said.

The Amritsar boy was quick on his feet as a forward but his drag-flicking skills improved following his consultations with senior India players when the National camp resumed in September 2020.

“My interactions with Rupinderpal and Harmanpreet were very helpful. They said my technique was good, but I needed to pay more attention to my footwork and ball release. I worked a lot on my timing, power and shoulder movement after coming to the camp.

Useful advice

“Varun Kumar told me to keep my head up and look more confident while taking the drag-flick. Another crucial advice the seniors gave me was to study the opponent goalkeeper’s weaknesses. During the lockdown, our coach (B.J. Kariappa) would also share videos of the senior team drag-flickers on our Whatsapp group so that we could study their movement and implement necessary changes to our game. I feel all these factors have helped a lot,” he added.

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