Who is Bidyashagar Singh? 10 things to know about the I-League top scorer
Bidyashagar Singh has been in stupendous form this season for TRAU FC in the I-League and is definitely one for the future.
Indian national football team head coach Igor Stimac has recently gone on record to say that players playing in the Indian Super League (ISL) are the primary ones with a chance of getting national team call-ups. However, the Croat also said that the door is always open for exceptional performers elsewhere. One player who is knocking that door right now, if not threatening to break it open, is TRAU FC's Bidyashagar Singh. Here are ten things about the top scorer of I-League 2020-21 that every Indian football fan should know.
Where is he from and how old is he?
His full name is Bidyashagar Singh Khangembam. He was born on 11 March, 1998, in the small town of Samaram Mayai Leikai in Manipur. Born to a middle-class farming family, the 23-year-old has had to reach the top the hard way.
At what age did he start playing football?
Inspired by his father who also wanted to be a footballer when he was young, Bidyashagar took to the beautiful game at the tender age of 11 when he was in the 6th standard. Then in the 10th standard, he started playing local tournaments and slowly started grabbing eyeballs.
Who does he consider to be his mentor?
Former Indian women's national team forward Prameshwori Devi was the youngster's first ever coach and Bidyashagar credits her for everything that he is today. He also acknowledges her as his 'elder sister' as well as his 'biggest fan'.
What is his favoured position?
Although he has excelled in the centre-forward role for TRAU this season, he is comfortable playing on either wing as well as an attacking midfielder due to his ambidexterity and pace.
How has his footballing journey shaped up till now?
The young gun was spotted by TRAU FC scouts at the age of 16 following which he signed for the club at youth level. As his performances kept impressing those in important positions, he attracted interest from Kolkata giants East Bengal where he spent four years, making appearances in the I-League and the Durand Cup. He returned to TRAU in July 2020.
How was his spell at East Bengal like?
The talented attacker was an integral part of East Bengal's U18 squad that narrowly missed out on the 2016-17 U18 I-League. He scored 6 goals in that competition including important ones against Salgaocar and AIFF Academy in the semifinal and final respectively. He was then promoted to the senior squad during the 2017-18 Calcutta Premier Division before making his I-League debut in October 2018 against Neroca FC.
Which are the other relevant tournaments that he has played in?
During his stay in Kolkata, Bidyashagar represented West Bengal in the 2017-18 season of the Santosh Trophy, ending with 4 goals in the prestigious inter-state competition.
What are the records that he has created this season?
The prolific goalscorer has scored 12 goals this season, in the process becoming only the fourth Indian player to have bagged the Golden Boot after Bhaichung Bhutia, Raman Vijayan and Sunil Chhetri. He has also scored two consecutive hat-tricks this campaign, against Mohammedan SC and Real Kashmir FC. This is the first time an Indian player has scored consecutive hat-tricks in the I-League.
How much cash reward has he earned just by his performances this season?
Bidyashagar has been crowned the Hero MotoCorp Hero of the League which comes with a cash reward of Rs. 5 lakh. Additionally, having scored 12 times this term, he has also won the highest goalscorer award, meaning an additional Rs. 2.5 lakh. These are of course apart from the cash rewards that he might have won for being the Hero of the Match in individual games. Not bad for one of the foremost rising stars in Indian football.
Which clubs are interested in signing the forward?
Following on from his superlative displays in the I-League this season, a number of ISL clubs are reportedly looking to bag his signature. These include names like SC East Bengal and Kerala Blasters, which means there is a high possibility that he might feature in the premier football league in the country from next season onwards.