By Akhil Rawat
NEW DELHI: "The first time I wore the Indian badge on my body and sang the national anthem in another country was an emotional feeling," said Bryce Miranda, who will be bombing the wings for Churchill Brothers for the second season running in the 2021-22 Hero I-League.
The 22-year-old was phenomenal in his debut season for the Red Machines, starting every match and bagging a goal and three assists. As one of the best wingers in the league, Miranda was rewarded with a national team call-up for the first time, joining India's U-23 camp for the 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers in the UAE in October last year.
"It was a dream come true to play for the country. Receiving the national team call-up was the best day of my life. I was definitely nervous the first time I got to the camp but at the same time I was pumped up to play with the top players in India. But it’s just the start for me. The next aim is to get into the senior team," said a delighted Miranda.
After getting plenty of playing time for Churchill last season, Miranda admits he gained a lot of top-level experience and improved a lot. "I have gained a lot more confidence than last season. I feel very comfortable at the club."
Miranda will hope to form a lethal attacking partnership with Churchill's new winter signing Komron Tursunov, a Tajikistan international, formerly of Mohun Bagan and TRAU. "I played against Komron last season and we know each other quite well. I have a good relationship with him and he's already training and mixing with the team. I’m looking forward to assisting him on the pitch," said Miranda.
The Goan side missed out on the trophy last season due to an inferior head-to-head record against Gokulam Kerala, which was difficult to digest for the entire team. However, the youngster is determined to fight for the title again. "We won't look back at anything and we'll go all out and play every game like a final. Hopefully, we can come back to Goa with the trophy," added Miranda.