Mumbai, March 19: India international midfielder Milan Singh who currently plays for I-league side DSK Shivajians hails from a village named Leikai in west Manipur.
He used to live in that village. His father was a rickshaw puller. He did not have even the money which could help him to ride on the rickshaw or even a bus.
He had to travel around 25 kilometers, from his home in Leikai to Lampak Stadium for training. He just preferred to walk every morning to reach the stadium.
He is Milan Singh, one of the regular members in the senior Indian football squad. The midfielder, before leaving for Cambodia with the Indian squad to play an exhibition match, said: “I preferred to walk that 25 kilometers every day before training and after practice.
"Even I was extremely tired of rigorous training I did not have any alternative to go by rickshaw or even by bus as I did not have the fare.
"Along with my parents, we were five brothers. Being a rickshaw puller it was not possible for my father to survive properly. We were in a dire distress that time.“
Milan also conveyed a more thrilling story that when he started walking towards the stadium at around 4 in the morning he was often cordoned by the military as every day curfew prevailed over the whole state for 12 hours, starting from 7 in the evening until the next day 7 in the morning.
Milan said: “Sometimes the policemen did not believe that I was going to the stadium for practice despite noticing my jerseys and boots.
"It happened several times when policemen pushed me to the roadside jungle to hide as the exchange of bullets had started between the policemen and terrorists.”
Within a year the midfielder got an opportunity to get admitted at Manipur’s one leading club academy and from he started getting a scholarship of Rs 1750. Milan informed, “I used to keep only Rs 750 for me and sent the rest of the money to my father.”
Milan’s financial crisis had changed after he joined mainstream football by signing for East Bengal in 2010 and then playing for Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League.
Milan’s father has left his profession already and now waits for his own big house to get constructed his footballer son has promised him.