File photo of Indian footballer Chinglensana Singh© Twitter
Indian footballer Chinglensana Singh was representing Hyderabad FC in an AFC Cup play-off match against Mohun Bagan in Kozhikode when ethnic violence broke out in his home district of Churachandpur in Manipur. In an exclusive interview with NDTV, the 27-year-old opened up about how his family survived the tensions and the damage that caused to them. “I had a match in Kerala when I got a lot of missed calls from home. I called back and my mom told me about the things that were happening – the burning houses, the gunshots, the attacks. They were really scared for their lives but the night passed and they were helped by the Indian army,” Chinglensana said.
“Something like this has never happened. It was a scary moment and we were all crying. For a moment, I thought this was the last time that I was on the line with them,” he added.
Chinglensana also found out that his house was burned down in the violence and after their escape, his parents had to take refuge in a relief camp before he could fly back to Manipur.
“My parents had a business together and they also built a house for us. Whatever the family ever had, it is all gone now. We still cannot go back and there is no place that we can call home now.”
The situation also affected the footballer on his professional front as he was supposed to join the national camp on May 15 ahead of the Intercontinental Cup but decided to opt out of it. When asked about it, Chinglensana made it clear that he wanted to be with his parents following the traumatic experience and he received support from head coach Igor Stimac and AIFF.
“Mentally, it was difficult for me to understand what my parents have faced. I decided to put football on hold and stay beside them. I told the coach about the situation and both him and the AIFF general secretary were quite understanding about my situation,” he concluded.
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