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Gurpreet Singh Sandhu finally got to play for Stabaek FC and may well be a talent to bet on in the future

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, East Bengal, Stabaek

With a clean sheet on his debut Gurpreet Singh Sandhu looks set to be a talent to watch at Stabaek and probably further afield in years to come

At school, showing the athletic prowess that made me the couch potato I am today, there were more than a few occasions when I’d be designated to play in goal in the weekly winter physical education classes that involved (at my level) the hapless and useless struggling to play the world’s most popular sport. Being as tall as a curbstone, as agile as a plank and as nimble as a dead ferret I was to goalkeeping what chocolate is to sensible teapot manufacture.


Sandhu Makes First Team


• New Goalie For Stabaek FC
• Clean sheet against Runar
• Big hope for the future

Thankfully for me no one expected me to leap cat-like across the goal mouth to snatch a well aimed shot at the top left hand corner from the air, we none of us were enthusiastic, and indeed the chances of any of my fellow spotty herberts getting a shot anywhere near the top left hand corner was as likely as my chances of saving it. Of course much of the time I stood around doing nothing save watching, the morass of the mob in midfield, which consisted of everyone not in goal uselessly chasing the ball.

Naturally whenever the opposition sneaked a goal past my corpse-like reflexes I would be roundly insulted by the looks, and indeed words, of my teammates. This didn’t seem particularly unfair given the entire lack of effort on my part, although I may not have admitted it at the time, and more than once I recall remonstrating quite fiercely with some more vocal critics in hopes of getting sent off so I could do something more interesting, like watching the paintwork peel from the dressing room walls.

Blaming the goalkeeper, of course, is a well-known tradition in football, the man at the back with big hands rarely glamorous, in some ways relegated to a sort of second tier status like useful defenders or staunch midfielders. Much of the time it’s the strikers that gain all the glory, who become household names, that win the awards and the massive advertising contracts to pose in their pants for unfeasible amounts of money gambling news coverage of their latest fashion choices will earn them even more.

Legends Between The Posts

MSalim

Obviously there are some goalkeepers who have wormed their way into the limpid pools of legend. The likes of Lev Yashin, Iker Casillas, Dino Zoff and Peter Schmeichel are heroes of their national teams for their superb skills between the posts and their remarkable records, often saving the day as well as the ball, and you can’t mention magical moments of goalkeeping without doffing your hat to Jimmy Glass for his saving of Carlise United in the dying moments against Plymouth when disaster loomed.

A good goalkeeper can make all the difference, and certainly Stabaek FC are hoping their newest recruit guarding the net, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, can continue to keep a clean sheet as he did in his debut appearance and their six nil thrashing of Runar in the NM Cupen. Those that like to bet on sports in Norway might well start to see the Stabaek’s odds tumble on ComeOn! Sportsbook and the like if the young man from India can translate his potential into performance like this every week.

The six foot five 23 year old might at present only be their second string goalie but he’s pretty stoic about that saying; “Until last year, I was developing myself to be at the same level as others. Goalkeepers have to wait. Rotating them is always difficult.” Adding in reference to the teams first choice in goal, Sayouba Mande, Ivory Coast’s international keeper, “I will show my manager that I’m as good as Mande and I would very much like to be Stabaek’s number one.”

Sandhu Keeps Clean Sheet On Cup Debut

“He is improving every day.” Agreed Andre Olsen the club’s sporting director, “We think he can be a top goalkeeper in Europe.” He went on to admit that the Norwegian club had already turned down offers for the young man who became the first Indian since Mohammed Salim back in 1936 to play for a side in the top tier of European football. It would seem the two month trial at the club that preceded his signing last year has paid dividends to both and we’re likely to see far more of him on the pitch.

“I consider myself lucky to be in such a position. It’s a great feeling that I am the first Indian to play at the a top European club.” Said a very positive Sandhu after his first team debut game against Runar in Norway’s top cup tournament. “It’s been a long journey with both ups and downs. But the experience has made me mentally stronger. It made me believe that opportunities come if you work hard and you need only to deliver when a chance comes your way.”

“I was waiting for the chance,” he admits, noting with somewhat understated glee that; “the team won, that’s the main thing and (I got) a clean sheet and I thank the team for that.” If you’re a pessimistic Norwegian gambling laws of football’s fiscal fixation might drag him away to teams elsewhere in Europe or even the Indian Super League fear not, he has a three year contract with Stabaek and seems intent on seeing that through. “There is more to come.” Andre Olsen promises the fans, and with the promise Sandhu shows he’s probably right.

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