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  Sports   Football  21 Jan 2017  Vineeth embodies self-belief, resolve

Vineeth embodies self-belief, resolve

THE ASIAN AGE. | NOVY KAPADIA
Published : Jan 21, 2017, 2:09 am IST
Updated : Jan 21, 2017, 6:37 am IST

Vineeth made his international debut against Palestine in 2012 but has been mostly sidelined since then.

Vineeth is a late developer like his team-mate, 30-year-old international midfielder Eugenson Lyngdoh.
 Vineeth is a late developer like his team-mate, 30-year-old international midfielder Eugenson Lyngdoh.

Self-belief and sheer determination has made 29-year-old C.K. Vineeth one of the best strikers in the country. He is the first player from Bengaluru FC to score a hat-trick, a feat achieved against Mumbai FC in a mid-week I-League clash.

Bengaluru FC started playing competitive football in September 2013 and have had quality strikers like national skipper Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, the Australian Sean Rooney and the North Korea’s Kim Song Yong. But none of them had ever scored a hat-trick in any competition.

Vineeth’s triple has also made him the joint top-scorer with Mohun Bagan’s Scottish striker Darryl Duffy. Both have scored four goals each in three matches. Only once has an Indian finished as top-scorer in the I-League,  Chhetri with 14 goals in his first season with Bengaluru FC the joint top scorer with Duffy who was then with Salgaocar (Goa).

With Vineeth in prolific form he has a chance to finish as top scorer in the ongoing 10th Hero I-League.

Vineeth is a late developer like his team-mate, 30-year-old international midfielder Eugenson Lyngdoh. Both did not hone their skills at academies and were not members of national age-group teams. Instead they played club football and gradually improved.

Vineeth’s career took off during his college days in Kannur. He then joined Chennai Customs and later Kerala State Electricity Board. His professional football career started when the then I-League team Viva Kerala (renamed later as Chirag United Club Kerala) hired him in 2010.

Credit for Lyngdoh and Vineeth’s improvement should go to former Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood. He spotted their potential, developed their skills and gave them confidence in their abilities.

Early in his career Vineeth played as a winger for Viva Kerala and Prayag United. Speed and work ethic were the hallmarks of his game so most coaches thought he was suitable as a winger.

However Westwood had different ideas. He persuaded Vineeth to play as a striker and utilised his speed and thrust effectively to make him a versatile player. For his club, Vineeth plays a roving game, drifting to the flanks to shake off his marker and when required charges into the 18 yard box to score goals with crisp volleys and angular placements.

Vineeth made his international debut against Palestine in 2012 but has been mostly sidelined since then. National coach Stephen Constantine should give him a chance in the Asian Cup qualifiers in March 2017.

Remarkably, he almost quit the game four years ago, when his father had a nasty accident and was in hospital. During his stint with Prayag United Vineeth felt his game was stagnating and so he took up a job as an auditor in the accountant general’s office in Thiruvanathapuram. He still retains that job, and is on leave without pay.

Tags: ck vineeth, i-league, bengaluru fc, mumbai fc