It has been a shaky start to Igor Stimac's era as India's national football team head coach. The Croatian has plenty of adversaries in terms of fitness of players, lack of domestic opportunities for some of his men, amongst others. The Blue Tigers drew against Syria in their final league match of the Intercontinental Cup, at EKA Stadium (Ahmedabad) on July 16. Other than the fan protests, what really stood out was Sunil Chhetri encouraging youngster Amarjit Singh Kiyam to lead his side's chants with the fans.
The Viking clap has been adopted by the national team for quite sometime, with particular attention being received to it after India's win over Thailand in the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
2âÂÂÂÂ£0âÂÂÂÂ£1âÂÂÂÂ£7âÂÂÂÂ£: Led ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ®ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ³ in FIFA U-17 World Cup— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) July 16, 2019
2âÂÂÂÂ£0âÂÂÂÂ£1âÂÂÂÂ£9âÂÂÂÂ£: Leads the chants for the #BlueTigers ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¯ in the #HeroIC ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ@KiyamAmarjit ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ#BackTheBlue ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ #IndianFootball âÂÂÂÂ½ pic.twitter.com/nsBIomJmSv
18-year-old Amarjit also skippered the national team in the 2017 U-17 World Cup, which was held on home soil. A sharp and gritty midfielder, the young man could en route in becoming a mainstay in Stimac's starting XI, edging past the likes of senior players like Pronay Halder and Rowllin Borges. His style of play is something which is needed in a team lacking a physical edge.
After the match, Amarjit tweeted, "Gutted beyond words but so proud to be a part of this team. The journey is still uphill and will keep doing my best everytime I step on the pitch for my country. A big shoutout to the amazing crowd for all your love and support."
Gutted beyond words but so proud to be a part of this team. The journey is still uphill and will keep doing my best everytime I step on the pitch for my country ðÂÂ®ðÂÂ³— Amarjit singh kiyam 8 (@KiyamAmarjit) July 16, 2019
A big shoutout to the amazing crowd for all your love and support ♥ï¸Â @indianfootball @BluePilgrims âÂ¤ï¸ÂðÂÂÂ https://t.co/mSDwm3tH2G
In the roster of Jamshedpur FC, Amarjit led the Indian Arrows in the I-League last season.
He might be young but his age doesn't bar him from putting top-notch performances, while playing for both club and country. Igor Stimac had also lauded his contribution during India's King's Cup loss to Curacao, stating that Amarjit's arrival changed the match for his country.
Narender Gahlot, who is also only 18-years-old, scored his first goal for the senior team in his second outing with them, in the 52nd minute. Syria soon equalised in the 78th minute through Firas Al Khatib.
A draw wasn't enough to reach the finals, as India already lost to Tajikistan (2-4) and North Korea (2-5).