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ISL 2022-23: Homecoming for NorthEast United FC's youngster Parthib Gogoi

As a part of our ISL Spotlight series, we speak to Assam local Parthib Gogoi as he eyes the new season with his boyhood club NorthEast United FC.

ISL 2022-23: Homecoming for NorthEast United FCs youngster Parthib Gogoi

Parthib Gogoi


Rajdeep Saha

Updated: 6 Oct 2022 6:50 AM GMT

What do Halicharan Narzary (Hyderabad FC), Gaurav Bora (NorthEast United FC), and Vinit Rai (Mumbai City FC) have in common? All three of them are locals from Assam plying their trade in the Indian Super League.

While Manipur and Mizoram dominate the North East representation in the ISL, Assam too has supplied young talents. In the 2019-20 season, there were seven Assamese locals in the league, with three being in NEUFC alone.

Three years later ahead of the 2022-23 season, the number has doubled as Highlanders have six players who hail from Assam. One such youngster is 19-year-old Parthib Gogoi who recently joined the ISL outfit.

"I just love the game, that's it," said a beaming Parthib. He is rearing to play in front of the home fans, but before that, the smiling teen sat with The Bridge in his Liverpool jersey and spoke everything football.

What makes his homecoming story more special is that his elder brother Pragyan, who was someone a young Parthib would watch play football growing up, will be playing alongside him in the NEUFC team.

An unfortunate red card

Of SAFF U-20 Championship fame, Gogoi rose to prominence with his four goals in the 2022 edition of the tournament where India won the title. However, as fate would have it, Parthib would go on to miss the final due to a suspension.

"The referee didn't realise that he'd given me a second yellow card! It was when the fourth official told him is when he showed me the red card," Parthib narrated the incident which seemed like a comedy of errors.

Parthib with the SAFF U-20 trophy

"I was booked for time wasting, but I didn't do it," he explained while taking a break to let out a hearty laugh in between. "The right-back told me to leave the throw-in and go up, so I threw the ball to him. The referee thought I was time wasting and he showed me a second yellow."

Nonetheless, the teenager doesn't have any regrets. "It was supposed to be my first final but I'm happy that we won the championship," he answered maturely.

A German experience

Many might not know this about Parthib but he'd gotten an opportunity to play in Germany under the youth coaches of Bayern Munich back in 2017.

In Germany during the Bayern Youth Cup

"We were representing Ozone academy in a competition held in Delhi. After winning that, a few of us got selected to be a part of a training camp with Bayern Munich and also compete in the Bayern Youth Cup in Germany," he said.

Way back home

North East India is a football-crazy region, so it was natural when a young Assamese boy in Parthib decided to put on his boots. Obstacles or hindrances at home were not present as it was his father, the person he looks up to, who introduced him to football.

It was in 2008 when a five-year-old Parthib caught the football bug. A localite of Sivasagar in Assam, he used to accompany his father to their local academy.

"My dad and his colleagues run a football academy in my hometown. He used to take me there when I was little to watch my brothers play. Through that, I got into the sport," Parthib recalled.

Parthib (right) during his early days

In 2015, Parthib was called by the Assam Football Association for a chance to play for the state team. The following, Ozone Academy, based in Bengaluru, recruited him where he played the lower rungs of the I-League.

Even in the national team, he started his climb from the U-15 side after which he shifted allegiance to the Indian Arrows in 2020. After two seasons of I-League, it was the SAFF title win that brought Gogoi back home with a move to NorthEast United FC.

""I have been following the club since I was a kid. It's a dream come true for me. I spoke to coach (Marco Balbul) about a lot of things. Things I should do as a winger, how I should grow my career from here," Parthib said.

Having already started training with the Highlanders, the wide-eyed footballer hopes to win both the winner's shield as well as the championship with NEUFC, but only time will tell if the teen's words come to fruition or not.

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