Tomba & Bungo
Tomba Singh & Bungo Singh - Air- India's prized possessions
With the modicum of simplicity and innocence shown by the Air-
India duo of Tomba Singh and Bungo Singh in the face of increasing
public adulation; the benefactor is none other than Indian football.
There is a certain degree of sanctity attached to players who are
naive, modest and of course exceptionally talented. This is an asset
not only for players, but also for the coach who can mould the youngsters
in the desired direction.
Renowned coach Bimal Ghosh was able to baptize Tomba and
Bungo into match winners for Air India. As Ghosh rightly observed,
Tomba and Bungo are very talented. They are also very obedient
and give a lot of respect to every one in the team. The
incredible achievement of Air India in the past couple of seasons
stands testimony to the skill and enterprise of Manipuri boys Tomba
Singh and Bungo Singh who are passionate about football. For the
past couple of years, they had constantly grabbed the headlines
of newspapers in Mumbai with their sterling performances on the
field while representing Air-India.
The 19-year-old athletic Tomba belongs to the rare breed of players
in the country who can shoot the ball with his left or right leg
in equal power. He can also play in left or right or center position
with equal ease and confidence. Tomba had a brief stint with under-19
India team which was coached by the renowned Rustam Akhramov last
year. Inspired at an impressionable age by cousin Khambiton Singh
who is a senior member of Air India, Tomba left the protected surroundings
of his home in Manipur to join Air India in 1999. Back home, Tomba
had played for United Sports Association (Manipur). Being the youngest
among his 5 siblings, Tomba is the apple of every eye in his family.
His elder brothers are gainfully occupied in cloth business in Manipur.
Tomba practices his skills under the watchful eyes of coach Bimal
Ghosh in the wee hours of the morning at the Air India colony ground.
Tomba's favorite players are Luis Figo, Baichung Bhutia, Somtai
Shazia, I M Vijayan and Godfrey Perreira, while his dream team is
Churchill Bros. In spare time, he loves to watch television. On
every weekend, I also takes care to telephone my parents back home
in Manipur through the local STD booth near Air India colony
While Tomba has remained an introvert, Bungo has not only progressed
in his Hindi communication skills but can also labeled as an extrovert.
Bungo's expedition at the competitive level of the game began with
Staran Sporting Association (Manipur), which was at the expense
of his high school studies. He gained recognition for his efforts
when he was chosen for the best footballer's award in Subroto Cup
in the under-16 category which also culminated in India's 1-0 victory
over Bangladesh in final in the year 1996. Bungo had also represented
India in the under-17 and under-19 age groups at Katmandu and Colombo
respectively. When asked to comment on his favorite soccer star,
Bungo said, I like Bhaichung Bhutia for his speed and kicking.
I also love to watch David Beckham of Manchester united on television
Tomba and Bungo compliment each other on the field like the proverbial
birds of a weather that flock together. With his phlegmatic disposition,
Bungo- the short and stocky midfield general of Air India who is
only 18 years of age, had controlled the strings of the game against
Mahindras in the final of the recently concluded Air India Millennium
Cup. On the other hand his comrade Tomba stamped his class with
a gorgeous solo goal after intercepting a timely pass from Bungo
to guide Air India to a 3-0 victory over Mahindras.
Tomba and Bungo have parallel aim of representing India in the
senior category. Although Tomba was without a proper clue when he
was asked to divulge his strategy of playing for the country, his
soulmate Bungo sounded quite realistic in his confession, My
aim is to perform well in the National Football League matches in
order to qualify for India in the under 21 category. I can play
for senior India if I continue to perform with greater consistency
at the higher level . Both teenagers Tomba and Bungo will
represent India in the senior category is a hypothesis, which will
grow in conviction in course of time and on the basis of their performances
at the premier level of the game in the new Millennium.
By : Wasim Siddiqui