With no outdoor training and competitions allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam is helping his parents in paddy cultivation in his native village in Manipur.
The 19-year-old midfielder, who has already graduated to the senior national team, joined his father in the transplantation of the paddy seedlings in 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 said.
“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 youngster who mostly remained outside the state to play matches, it was an opportunity 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 release.
He said coming out of home and doing some activity in 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 said.