With no outside coaching and competitions allowed as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, India’s 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam helps his dad and mom in paddy cultivation in his native village in Manipur. The 19-year-old midfielder, who has already graduated to the senior nationwide staff, joined his father within the transplantation of the paddy seedlings within the fields made muddy by Monsoon rains. The piece of land belongs to his family.
“I was helping my family in the paddy field – to do the farming. There’s no shame in going back to your roots and help your family on the paddy fields,” Amarjit stated. “My family has been farming for generations. But I myself have not paid much attention to farming since I was a kid. I was always too much into football,” he added.
For the teen who largely remained exterior the state to play matches, it was a possibility to reconnect to the roots.
“Normally, I don’t get to be home for a long time. Even when the season is over, we have been going on some exposure tour or the other with the junior national teams. So when I do eventually get to come home for a few weeks, it’s generally not the season for cultivation.
“Now I have got the time to actually go out there and reconnect with my roots. I feel proud. I’ve learnt the different aspects of farming, and I can tell you it’s quite a draining activity,” he was quoted as saying in an AIFF launch.
He stated popping out of dwelling and doing a little exercise within the open was “quite refreshing”.
“It’s always nice to have some sort of activity as a hobby — something that helps keep your mind off football for a couple of hours every day. I think farming has done that for me. I’m really enjoying this activity,” he stated.