ISL 2020-21: Shubham Sarangi – ‘Odisha FC has a good foreign contingent this season’

The talented footballer revealed that the sheer pride of representing his state prompted him to extend his contract with Odisha FC…

Shubham Sarangi was one of the bright spots for Odisha FC last season in the Indian Super League (ISL), with his performances at right-back garnering praise. 

The versatile footballer who started his career as a striker was converted into a right-winger during 2018-19 season by then Odisha and erstwhile Delhi Dynamos manager Josep Gombau. Later that season though, impressed by his defending abilities, the Spaniard had changed his position and used him as a right full-back.

Ahead of the 2020-21 season, Sarangi decided to commit his future to the club for three more years and the player explained that representing his native club is a motivation in itself which prompted him to sign the contract extension.

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“Being a local player and getting the opportunity to represent your state at any level is great. It gives you that extra motivation. It makes you feel attached to the place and the people. The people in Odisha are extremely passionate about the game. The extra love and motivation of Odisha fans made me commit my future to the club,” Sarangi told Goal.

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Shubham Sarangi

2020 has been a difficult year for everybody across the globe primarily due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Indian football had also come to a halt after the conclusion of the ISL 2019-20 season on March 17.

The young Odisha defender is glad that football will start again in the country and suggested that he is very eager to take to the field. 

“It has been a very long break due to the pandemic and many activities including football were put to a halt. We have been waiting for this time for long. I am very excited for the season and can’t wait to play football again.”

The 20-year-old suggested that the team is having a very fruitful pre-season training under new coach Stuart Baxter and he is hopeful that the addition of quality foreign players this season would help them to make it to the play-offs.

“The pre-season has been very good so far and the team gelling quite well. The coach has brought a new philosophy and we are trying to implement that. We are giving our best in each and every session and trying to improve as a team and do well in the upcoming season.

“We have a very good foreign contingent this season. I feel right from the backline to the attack, the squad is really good and balanced. Last season we had missed out on the play-offs narrowly. The main target of the team this season is to be in the play-offs. Individually my target is to provide as many assists as possible and create chances.”

South Africa v Morocco July 2019 - Stuart Baxter

Sarangi also mentioned that he is very keen to play under a reputed coach like Stuart Baxter and has been following the coach’s words diligently in the training sessions.

“He (Stuart Baxter) is a great coach. He has managed so many teams, has experience of working in South Africa and Japan. He has vast experience and as a player, you look forward to getting coached by such a personality.

“Since day one of training, we have been listening to every single instruction of his. Even when we were at our homes, he used to stay in touch with every player and conduct tactical classes. He has been wonderful and each and every player has the urge to prove themselves under him,” said the right-back.

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