Odisha FC have had a strong start to the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season under the guidance of head coach Josep Gombau. The Bhubaneswar-based side have managed to record three wins and one loss in the four games that they have played so far.

The arrival of Gombau has not only brought a different identity of football to the club but also has infused players with a winning mentality, and that is evident as the team mustered a fight and came from behind to steal three points from their opponent in two of the four matches that they played.

Standing in the Odisha FC goal, guarding it, while also supporting the players through each passing minute is their first-choice goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, who joined the club in the latest transfer window. A high calibre player renowned for his goalkeeping skills, Singh’s addition to the team has been a massive boost in the squad given his reputation and longevity with the Indian men’s national team and in the Hero ISL.

“This year, we have an incredibly good team. The environment around the team is really positive and each player, every one of them is like a family here. All players, foreign and Indian alike, are ready to work hard in the training sessions,” Singh told Odisha FC TV.

Commenting on the games against Jamshedpur FC - where the team came from behind to win the match - and against Mumbai City FC - where the team lost the match but showed its fighting spirit right until the end, Singh believes the team doesn’t believe in giving up.

“There is a togetherness in the team and the unity of the team is a positive sign and will be beneficial for us,” he said.

Gombau’s men have won both of their home games that they have played this season, and Singh is already in love with the stadium, the fans, the ground, and the newly developed infrastructure of the Kalinga stadium.

“It is absolutely amazing. I saw the stadium and the work done here is extremely good. The pitch, the dressing room, everything has been done to perfection,” he added.

The former Hero ISL Golden Glove winner comes to the playing field with abundance of experience, something that was missing in the team last year, and will come fruitful for the likes of young shot-stoppers in Lalthuammawia Ralte and Niraj Kumar.

“I always try to speak and help the youngsters. Not just me but also the foreign players in the team, we always appreciate their efforts while also correcting their mistakes. I always tell the youngsters to step up and take responsibility. As a team, we are one, we need to play as one (unit) and need to follow the instructions laid down by the coach,” the custodian added.

The 29-year-old has made seven saves, kept a clean sheet, and has also provided a spectacular assist in four games so far. While Gombau’s attacking style of football has reaped benefits, the presence of Amrinder Singh has equally benefited the team in the back, and can pose to be a serious contender for the Golden Glove this season alongside Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Laxmikant Kattimani, and others.

“My motivation is always high to win all the games. Mistakes can be made by any human but to learn from it and not to repeat it is what I look the most at. If I make a mistake at something, it doesn’t affect me because I know that if I try it multiple times, I’ll perfect at what I’m doing and not repeat it again. Even if you commit a mistake in the 1st minute, you have the opportunity to do better and help the team in the remaining 90 minutes,” he concluded.

Having a bankable and a veteran keeper in front of the goal, Gombau can surely place his faith in Amrinder Singh to bring him glory but given the nature of the longer season, the character of the custodian will be tested through thick and thin.