Sivasakthi keeping his feet on the ground despite dream start with Bengaluru FC
Sivasakthi Narayanan has announced his arrival on the grand stage in style, hasn’t he? Playing only his second game for Bengaluru FC, the 20-year-old attacker scored a fabulous goal against Maldivian side Maziya Sports and Recreation in Male in his team’s thumping 6-2 AFC Cup win last week. Udanta Singh provided the cross from the right and the youngster controlled the ball nicely before hitting it into the far corner. Accolades have since poured in from all sides for him. The Tamil Nadu-born player recently spoke to indiansuperleague.com in an exclusive interview and discussed his footballing journey to date, to the high point of that fabulous goal in the prestigious continental club competition in Asia. Read the interview in full here.
Tell us about your football journey. How you started playing football?
I have always loved football as a kid. When I was in the seventh standard, there was a tournament during Deepavali, where my brother and I heard an announcement about some trials. We went there and got selected to be a part of a local team, and that’s where my journey started.
How did it feel when Bengaluru FC first approached you? What was the reaction in your family?
I was very happy to know that a big team like Bengaluru FC was interested in signing me, as I was a fan of the club even before that. So, it felt great to know that I was going to be a part of BFC. Everyone I knew, from family to friends, were very happy when they heard the news, and wished me the best of luck in my endeavours.
How did it feel after scoring your first goal? Had you imagined it will come so early in your Blues stint. Describe that moment.
Since I joined the club's B Team last year, the goal has always been to play for the senior team one day, so I am very happy to have made my debut [against Bashundhara Kings three days before his goal] and score my first goal for the club. I felt very happy, for both my debut and my goal, but I know that this is just the beginning. I need to work hard, do better and push myself to get more minutes on the pitch.
Now what’s the next target for you? Hero ISL is not far.
My next target now is to train hard and try to be a part of the first team squad for the [Hero] Indian Super League [Hero ISL] this season. I know it won't be easy, but with the support I have around me and the number of people motivating me to do better, I am really eager to do well and perform to my maximum.
Share your experience of working with Marco Pezzaiuoli so far. What do you make of him?
Since joining the first team training last year, it has been a fantastic experience working with the players and coach Marco, who demands everyone to give their best. He treats everyone the same, even some of us who have come from the B Team. Any time we make a mistake, we are always told about it so that we rectify and don't repeat it. If we give our best and follow instructions in the training sessions, we know we might get a chance in the games.
Tell us how the seniors in the team treated you. What the atmosphere is like in the dressing room?
Coming into the senior team where legends like Sunil bhai, Gurpreet bhai and others were present… it was intimidating at first. But everyone was very welcoming, they never treated me like I was an outsider and all the players always made time to give me words of encouragement, either during training or off the pitch. Not just the players, even coach Marco and [Assistant] coach [Naushad] Moosa were very nice and they always made time to speak about what improvements I can make in my game or explain if I do something wrong in training.
You've scored lots of goals in the BDFA super division. In your first experience of playing with the senior team in the AFC Cup, what adjustments did you have to make to adapt to the level, and what differences did you observe?
In the BDFA Super Division you are on the pitch a lot and you have time to take many touches in the game, but with the first team you do not get that luxury. The pace of the game, even in training, is much faster and everyone is at a different level technically. It took me a few days to get up to speed, but now I am sure I can deliver whatever the coaches demand from me.