Bengaluru FC academy striker Sridarth Nongmeikapam will travel to Slovenia for a training stint-cum-trial with ND Ilirija 1911.
Ilirija, the oldest football club in the country, is based in Ljubljana and serves as a feeder club to N K Olimpija Ljubljana, one of the nation’s most successful teams.
Sridarth Nongmeikapam, who had been training in Bengaluru for the last three weeks, reached the Central European nation on Friday.
During his ten-day stay in Ljubljana, Sridarth Nongmeikapam will be training with Ilirija’s U15 side which plays in the country’s top division in their youth structure.
In fact, the youngster will also have additional training sessions with the club’s coaching staff which will further help his development.
The Pukhao-born Manipuri had begun playing football as a youngster and after representing his school at the state level, his impressive performances in the Subroto Cup were followed by a move to the AIFF Elite Academy setup.
Two years on, Sridarth Nongmeikapam has been one of the key members of the squad which secured a place in the final round of the AFC U16 Championships 2020.
The youngster banged in five goals as BFC finished top of their qualifying group in Uzbekistan. He also scored a stunning hat-trick in the final as India emerged champions in the U15 SAFF Championship in Kalyani, West Bengal earlier this season.
“I started off on the wing in my early years but eventually settled in as a central striker while in the AIFF set up in Goa,” Sirdarth said.
“Coach Bibiano Fernandes has been a great guiding figure in my career so far and I have learned a lot of things from him in the last two years.”
Coming from a football family, picking up the sport was never really a tough decision for Nongmeikapam. The youngster credits his father with giving him the push to pursue the sport.
“My father was a professional footballer and played for some big clubs in India including the likes of Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, and Dempo SC,” he said.
“He was also a youth international and when he retired, he started a club in Manipur to help young footballers.
“I don’t exactly remember how and when I started playing but it has always been football for me. He is the one who taught me how to play and has always been an inspiration.”
Football in the family doesn’t stop at Sridarth Nongmeikapam’s father. His uncle, Nongmeikapam Suresh Meitei, skippered Army Red when they faced the Bengaluru in the Durand Cup back in August, while his brother Nongmeikapam Ronaljit Singh currently plays for United Pukhao Sports Association, a club formed by his father in 2004.