By Tenzin Dharpo
Samdup in Real Kashmir jersey in Mumbai
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 5: Tibetan National football team’s No.1 goal keeper and formerly with I-League champion Chennai City FC, Tenzin Samdup has signed with Real Kashmir FC on a permanent deal on September 1. Samdup is one of the two Tibetans who have played in the top Indian domestic football league. Karma Tsewang from Kollegal Dhondenling played for Pune FC and Salgaonkar.
The 26-year-old up and coming player left his former club Chennai city FC as a free agent after his contract ran out. He refused to sign a new deal with the champions. He is managed by Birbal Sports and Entertainment LLP.
“The decision was very easy, I wasn’t getting game time in Chennai City FC and that is what I need at this point in my life and in my career so I switched to Real Kashmir FC. First team football isn’t guaranteed here as well but at least now there will be fair fight,” Samdup told Phayul on the new move in his career.
The player who left for Srinagar on Wednesday to join his new team said that he is exited for the pre-season preparations and the new season which kicks off next month. “Real Kashmir FC plays very simple football and it’s all about giving your heart in every second of the game. I hope and believe we would do good in league and fight to win the championship but every team comes in with the same motto so let’s see. It’s football, anything could happen,” he said.
Despite the promising developments in his professional career, he said he is still midway when it comes to supporting his family financially and establishing himself as a stalwart in the Indian football scene. He said, “Good things take time. It’s just my second season professionally, it’s getting better and it will hopefully get even better if no injuries follow. Goalkeepers have pretty long career so let’s see.”
On the home-front, Samdup laments that the football scene has still a long way to go. “mindset”, he says is the key for football to develop in the community; a shift from looking at it just as a hobby to a profession. He said, “We got to take sports more seriously, I see footballers who stop smoking and drinking only for our prestigious GCM tournament, imagine what changes we can bring if football becomes a career, a profession.
“Apart from this the major issue would be documents, we cannot play professional football in India with Tibetan IC, it’s mandatory to have Indian passport and that’s something we all need to focus on. Not just footballers but I have heard and came across many Tibetan professionals losing opportunities because of this. I hope there could be a solution to this and coming years.”
Samdup led the DYSA Mundgod football club as the captain to championship in the foremost Tibetan football tournament GCM Gold Cup back in May. His professional team Real Kashmir FC came third in last year’s I-league and is considered one of the contenders for the title in the new season.
The Indian football scene is going through a shake-up with India’s 1st division football league organized by the All India Football league (AIFF) being challenged by the commercially superior Indian Super League.