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Shyam Thapa exclusive interview about Dehradun Football

Dehradunfootball.com caught up with QuickSilver of Indian football-Shyam Thapa to discuss about Dehradun football- its past and future. The legendary Indian international known for his acrobatic goals along with his immaculate scoring skills made him one of the best Dehradun has produced.

Q. What do you attribute the success of Gorkha Brigade at National Level in 60's and 70's?
The reason behind Gorkha Brigade’s success was the exceptionally dedicated, disciplined and naturally gifted players. There was no such system as such but the players being mostly from army family backgrounds had a strong drive to work hard for their school /organization.

Q. During your time, Army took lot of interest in promotion and development of the game. What do you think were the main drivers behind it?
Maneckshaw and Compactent took a lot of interest in the organization and were passionate about the game , their support and love for the sport played a major role in GB’s success

Q. What advice would you give to current set of Dehradun football administrators to revive the golden days of Doon football?
Football association’s especially the Uttaranchal district association should remember that once the Doon valley was famous for producing all the talented and “star” players. They should focus on working towards reviving the old glory.

Q. What role do you forsee for former footballers, officials and fans to revive Doon football?
Everyone that has been a part of Doon football should get together to urge the govt at the state level to support the Uttaranchal association financially. They should get together and discuss the past present and the future of football in the valley and work together to generate interest amongst the public towards football.

Q. Currently there is no prevelant system for harnessing youth talent. How do you think our football administrators should address the problem?
Former players should motivate youngsters and coach them whenever and however possible. In our time all we thought about was football. From school to district to state level competitions the feel was similar to that of Kolkata football.

Q. Personally, you have been involved with various coaching programs in South Asia. Would you be interested in conducting one for Dehradun coaches and training staff?
I can contribute to the association with my technical expertise and advice, I can commit to short coaching programs where I can help train coaches and motivate and advice youngsters. It has been my dream to be able to coach young soccer players in my beautiful valley although financially I am unable to take such a step but if there is funding available through the state then I can definitely lend my experience and technical expertise to the academy.

Q. What role did Gorkha Military School played in development of talented players like you?
On the contrary the Gorkha Military School is responsible for the success of the Gorkha brigade football team since it was at the school level that the star players were encouraged to pursue this game and where they got the training and inspiration and that discipline of working hard that led to their success wherever they played afterwards.

Q. Your most memorable moment?
Yes when I represented the Gorkha Military School in the Subroto cup in 1961 for the first time, reaching the finals and playing against East Bengal one of the top level teams made it very memorable for me.
Shyam Thapa with Pele
Q. How can we all bring success back to Doon football?
In today’s environment it is very difficult to visualize the success of football in Dehradun mainly due to the lack of long term goals and state presence. But if everyone gets together and takes an interest then something can definitely be done

Q. What do you think of Jatin Bisht joining East Bengal?
Jatin Bisht can learn everything about playing in a top level team and use his experience and this opportunity to motivate all other players from Doon and he has to remember at all times that the responsibility of saving the sinking ship of Doon Football lies heavily on him. He has to be dedicated, disciplined and work hard to achieve success and to become a star player.

Q. Indian football is steadily on decline since the 70's both at national and international level. How do you think we should address this decline?
In the 70’s the fact that there were so many good players meant that there was very strong competition at state, national and club level this meant that the quality of the game was really good but today other than Bhaichung Bhutia there are hardly any names worth mentioning. Indian football as a whole must make long term plans, for about 20 years in terms of youth football. In 1970 we beat Japan and won the Bronze medal but within the span of 35 years Japan is playing world cup football today by making long term plans. My dream is that one day I shall see India reach the world cup.


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