KOLKATA: Former India captain Gouramangi Singh, who had a career spanning 15 years, believes mental health has become an important aspect as Indian football moved forward over the years.
The 34-year-old has announced his retirement from professional football and is currently the assistant coach at FC Bengaluru United which is playing in India's first sporting event post the Covid-19-induced lockdown - the I-League Qualifiers 2020.
Speaking to the-aiff.com on World Mental Health Day, Gouramangi stated the fact that players and coaches are now open about the mental issues they face is a big improvement in Indian football.
"It is very good that players and coaches are open about the mental challenges that they face nowadays. We now have professionals who are there to help with these things, and they can be crucial to help players grow in their footballing careers," said Gouramangi.
"Earlier people were not so open about such things. If you were facing such issues, or if you were uncomfortable with certain situations, you would mainly have to fight it out yourself," he said. "But now people have realised that there is no shame in admitting that you are having difficulties in dealing with certain situations. This is a big step."
Looking back at the earlier days in his own career, Mangi, as he is often fondly called in the dressing room, felt self-realisation of a player about his strengths and weaknesses could both make or break a player.
"When I graduated from the Tata Football Academy and started playing football at the senior level, it was obviously difficult. Everyone was suddenly expecting results from you. The scouts have picked you up for a certain reason, and if you don't fulfill that, it could get tough," Gouramangi stated.
"This is where the mental strength of a player comes into play. If he can realise early on what his strengths and weaknesses are, he can survive and flourish. Mental strength, at this stage, could make or break a player," he added. IANS