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Mumbai: Delighted at being named for the prestigious Arjuna Award, veteran goalkeeper Subrata Paul said it will “motivate” him to do better, adding that he is totally focused on helping the national side beat Puerto Rico in the forthcoming international friendly on 3 September.
Subrata, who is nicknamed ‘Spiderman’ for his acrobatic saves during the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Doha, will be conferred the award by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 29 August.
He has been part of the Indian side for over a decade, and has also been captain in several matches. Dedicating the award to his family and his coach Debashish Mukherjee, the 29-year-old also thanked the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and his teammates.”I want to dedicate this to my family — my mom, my dad, my brother, sister, my wife and my coach Debashish Mukherjee (who is also Subrata’s father-in-law). The sacrifices which he has made for me and the manner he nurtured me when I needed it the most has helped me to reach this level. I can never forget their support,” he said.
“I also need to thank all my coaches, my teammates, both at the club and international level, the AIFF, and the football fraternity in whole for standing by me all throughout,” he added.
The Sodepur-born goalkeeper added, “It means a lot. If you go through the list of who has won an Arjuna Award since its inception in 1961, you are bound to get inspired. It is a huge honour for me. The fact that I am the 24th Indian footballer to win the award is immensely special. But no sportsperson ever takes the field thinking of winning an award. But it remains a motivation to do better. Personally, I can’t change my character.