Comeback postponement a setback, but no complaints in current situation, says India forward Jeje Lalpekhlua
'I was really looking forward to the camp in Bhubaneswar. The postponement has come as a big setback. But there's no room to complain and I fully stand by the decision taken,' Jeje said.
New Delhi: His national comeback plans delayed by the postponement of the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers, India forward Jeje Lalpekhlua is now training at his native Mizoram, where the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic is yet to make its presence felt.
The pandemic has led to either cancellation or postponement of all sporting events including the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers. India's home match against Qatar (earlier slated for 26 March) and other games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in June have also been postponed.
"I was really looking forward to the camp in Bhubaneswar. The postponement has come as a big setback. But there's no room to complain and I fully stand by the decision taken," Jeje said.
Jeje, who has been on a rehab since May 2019, informed that he is itching to get back to action.
"I had a knee injury last season and had a surgery in May. My rehab is complete. I can realise that I'm reaching an optimum fitness level gradually," he said.
"Initially I started my rehab in Chennai. Then I went abroad and the sessions were excellent. The doctor was really helpful and the physio did individual sessions every day. Sometimes, we had two sessions in a day which helped me recover faster," he said.
"Since I am in Mizoram now I am continuing individual sessions in consultation with the doctor and physios. I am working hard on my fitness now."
The footballer also conveyed "a big salute" to the medical staff and all others on the frontline in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak has infected more than three lakh people and claimed over 14000 lives across the world.
"A big salute to the medical staff and all others who are putting in their best efforts around the world. Without them the crisis would have been much worse," Jeje expressed.
"Given the current situation which we're in it's advisable for everyone to stay at home. We need to get back to normal life soon. I feel that if we self-quarantine normalcy will return faster," he stated.
In their opener of the Hung Thinh Friendly Football Tournament, India were held to a 1-1 draw by lower-ranked Singapore.
A damaged tendon in his groin has forced Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe to undergo surgery and will be out of action till December.
India were outplayed by the home team at Ho Chi Minh City's Thong Nhat Stadium, with two of the three goals being conceded during a listless second-half display.