In the Indian version of Los Galacticos – Prayag United SC, there is a young man from Kerala making rapid strides with consistent displays on the wings. Vineeth CK has made himself a name by assisting Ranti Martins to lead the I-League scoring charts once again and scoring a few by himself in the process of doing his duties for the team. The lightning winger dreams about playing for India and the experts believes that Vineeth CK isn’t far away from fulfilling his dream.
The former Viva Kerala man who finished as the joint top scorer in I-League last season, has continued his good form in the colors of Prayag United this season. Vineeth has been one of the consistent performers in I-League for Prayag United in a roller-coaster ride. TheHardTackle’s resident author Joseph George takes Vineeth CK through his experience and football dreams in an exclusive interview.
Joseph: How did you feel after finishing as the joint top Indian scorer of I-League last season?
Vineeth: Feeling Great and Happy…..But I think I am not the Indian top scorer of I-League last season. Actually, I was the second top scorer of last season.
Vineeth: It’s painful! Since, many players including me have reached this great position by climbing the ladder of Chirag United Kerala (Viva Kerala). It was the only club in I-League from Kerala. Because of its closing down many football players lost the opportunity to play in the big league.
Joseph: Do you think the upcoming clubs like Josco FC, Eagles FC, Malabar United, Chandni FC etc. can break into I-League and stay there for a longer period unlike FC Cochin and Viva Kerala?
Vineeth: I have not so far played in second division clubs. So it is difficult to make any kind of statements at this juncture. But I think that there are chances for those teams to make it into the I-League, because those teams have many talented players.
Joseph: Do you think the state of Kerala still has the talent to rise on the football map of India? Kerala is in a lean patch currently as there is no ‘Malayali’ representation in national team – What is the main reason behind the downfall of a footballing state like Kerala?
Vineeth: Talent. I think, players from Kerala are not getting too many opportunities to show their talent in the big stage. Kerala had a team in I-league by which we all got opportunity to play in the big stage. By the closing down of that club many players lost the opportunity to play in the League. Because of the rise of many clubs in Kerala, we can hope for a better footballing future.
Joseph: Santhosh Trophy is being scheduled in Kerala. If given an option to play for Bengal and Kerala, Which one will you chose and why?
Vineeth: Of course; it will be for Kerala; because playing in front of my family, friends and familiar football fans that too in my home state will give me immense pleasure.
Vineeth: They are great players, I have not so far positioned myself among those great players. It’s my pleasure to play with all of them together. They are humble, friendly and helpful..
Joseph: What Personal targets have you set for yourself this year?
Vineeth: I have never kept too many targets for me and for this year I just want to improve my performance and do better than last season and give my 100 % in every match and I am trying to do so.
Joseph: A lot of football pundits and fans want to see you in national colors. What are your take on this?
Vineeth: It’s their greatness and my pleasure to hear such great statement from them. I try my level best to perform my duty selflessly to bring my performance better and better in every match. If it happens it will be a dream come true
Joseph: What difference do you find between Kolkata and Kerala in footballing terms?
Vineeth: It’s difficult to tell, because my football fans are my friends either in Kerala or in Kolkata. If more specifically I have to differentiate, I may tell that football fans are passionate in Kolkata and players gets more facilities and attention here.
Joseph: What are the targets that Prayag United has set before itself for this season?
Vineeth: Target – No doubt in it.… to ‘Win The Cup’ ! But now we are going through a bad time. We are working hard to change it, hopefully it will change in the second leg..
Favorite Player: Steven Gerrard
Favorite Club: Liverpool
Favorite Player (Current Indian) : Sayed Rahim Nabi
Favorite Player (Indian – All Time ) : I M Vijayan
Memorable Moment : Goal against Dempo
Dream : Play for India