The right-back has been a constant fixture in the Sudeva side since signing before the season and has put in a string of solid performances so far. Akashdeep believes learning how to deal with losses is as important as a winning habit.
Sudeva Delhi FC Media
After a tough loss to the league leaders Churchill Brothers, the mood in the Sudeva Delhi FC was expectedly low. A day off from training served to recharge not just bruised egos but also desire. While the coaching staff have been busy getting the team back on track for their next encounter, against Roundglass Punjab FC, one player remained calm — never too elated nor dejected — trusting the process and ensuring everyone around knows the reality of the league they are in.
“It isn’t the losses that define your season,” Akashdeep Singh Kahlon says, “And this is not some stereotypical advice I’m spouting. It is logical. You will lose games. Every team loses games. It is what you do after losing that matters.”
Akashdeep speaks from experience. The defender has spent many years plying his trade in the I-League and was part of the Minerva Punjab FC team that lifted the trophy in 2017-18. And the advice for how to deal with losses comes from his experience of that title-winning season. Minerva lost five games that season — more than any other team that finished in the top four — but ended up winning the title by three points. Crucially, they never lost two games in a row and almost always bounced back from a loss with an emphatic win.
“You want to erase the negativity that creeps in with a loss,” Akashdeep says. “There are different ways to do it. As a team, we sat down and discussed the reasons for the loss. The coaching staff also dissected our performance and told us ways to improve. After that, we decided to move on from it.”
“One of the benefits of being in a young group is that you can find motivation through simple recreation. All of us players used that day off to take some of the pressure off. We played some music, as a group we got together one evening and sang some songs. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to revitalise the group and importantly rebuild collective energy. It has pumped us for the next game.”
Most of the talk around Sudeva Delhi FC is about of an all Indian squad filled with young talent, but the encounter against RoundGlass will also be hyped for the fact that it will pit two countrymen against each other, one the first time coach of a young team and the other a charismatic superstar with I-League title experience under his belt.
Having played with Chencho Gyeltshen at Minerva (in their title-winning campaign no less) Akashdeep has had the opportunity to study the Bhutanese winger’s methods up close. And the fact that he will be directly negating him on Sudeva’s right flank makes things all the more interesting.
Gyeltshen’s strength is his speed on the wing, and an ability to drift in and provide crucial goals for the team. He already has two in the league thus far. Akashdeep recognises this and knows that negating the Bhutanese player’s speed will be crucial. His own strengths though are more diverse. Aside from the now compulsory wing back trait of overlap and cross, Akashdeep has a brilliant understanding of the game defensively. His ability to not just man-mark but also track game movements and situations has been one of the consistent traits of the team this season. Furthermore, in a team designed to play with the ball from the back, Akashdeep’s ability to fill in different positions according to the need is important. It emboldens his defensive partners Gursimrat Singh Gill and Sairuat Kima vastly.
“With Akash paaji on one side, I know that I can also go higher up and he will move inwards and cover my space,” Gill says. “It gives me the confidence to go up higher and play balls, maybe even get involved in attacks. Inset pieces, both of us always go up safe in the knowledge that the man covering us is cool, calm and confident all at once, all the time.”
The trick to staying this way? Never think too far into the future. “Game by game,” Akashdeep says. Firstly, and most importantly, we have to get the points against Roundglass. We take it from there.”
Sudeva Delhi FC takes on RoundGlass Punjab FC on Jan. 29 at the Salt Lake Stadium. Watch us live on 1Sports (Facebook and all major cable/satellite networks). Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with any media enquiries.