Gurkirat Singh hails from Chandigarh and is a product of the famed Chandigarh Football Academy. He spent five years there honing his game before he was scouted into the India U16 set up by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
"I used to play in my village and loved playing football. Senior players in my village asked me to go and join a good academy," Singh had told GOAL in an earlier interview.
"I went to Chandigarh to join CFA and my career started from there. I was there for almost five years. Then in 2017, I was selected for the India U16 team under Bibiano (Fernandes) sir. Then I joined Indian Arrows last year (2019) and I’ve been continuing there ever since."
When he joined the Indian Arrows' set up, he was a defender and was an instrumental figure in the India U16 side that reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 AFC U16 Championship.
Floyd Pinto, the then coach of Arrows, saw his potential in the attacking third and started using him more in the advanced areas of the pitch. To take advantage of his height and sturdy physique, he would often be used as a forward, especially when the team was trailing.
"I was asked to play as a forward by Floyd sir. He told me to give it a try, playing as a forward. He told me it will be good for me. I tried and I felt it is a position I can play because in CFA also, I started as a forward," he stated.
Not many know, that Gurkirat was the joint top scorer in the 2019 SAFF U-18 tournament as well. However, in the previous edition, he netted just twice which proved to be enough to win the golden boot.
In the 2020-21 I-League season, he started blossoming as a forward as he went on to make 11 appearances. His performances did not go unnoticed and he was signed by Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City FC on a three-year contract until May 2024 with an option to extend for another season.
He made 8 appearances in the last ISL season, mostly as a substitute. Coach Des Buckingham would surely like to make the most of the teenager in the upcoming campaign.
Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes named a 23-member squad for the SAFF U-17 Championship which kicks-off in Colombo on September 5, 2022.
“The boys have worked so hard over the months. They are excited. They are hitting the ground with high levels of intensity and motivation,” said Bibiano.
India begin their campaign against Bhutan on September 5. The final is slated for September 16.
“We believe this batch has what it takes to outdo what the previous two batches achieved. Our short-term aim is to win the SAFF U17 Championship and qualify for the AFC U17 Championships as group leaders,” the coach stated.
The 23-member squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Sahil, Julfikar Gazi, Tajamul Islam.
DEFENDERS: Ricky Meetei, Mukul Panwar, Manjot Singh Dhami, Balkaran Singh, Suraj Kumar Singh, Chandan Yadav.
MIDFIELDERS: Gurnaj Singh Grewal, Korou Singh, Lalpekhlua, Vanlalpeka Guite, Boby Singh, Malemngamba Singh Thokchom, Huzafah Ahmad Dar, Ngarin Shaiza, Danny Meitei, Lalhmingchhuanga Fanai, Faizan Waheed, Obed Mangminhao Haokip.
FORWARDS: Thanglalsoun Gangte, Aman.
The fixture for India’s matches are as follows:
September 5: Bhutan vs India (IST 3.30pm).September 9: India vs Nepal (IST 3.30pm).September 12: Semi-finals (IST 3.30pm and 8pm).September 14: Final (IST 7pm).