Crestfallen Romeo prays for Baljit's quick recovery


“I can never forget the pain Baljit suffered. Somehow I feel myself responsible for it. I am continuously praying for him. It will be the happiest day of my life when he makes a comeback to the field,” James said from Pune where the mishap happened.

James was giving some practice to Baljit, Adrian D’Souza, Bharat Chetri and PR Sreejesh on that fateful day when a golf ball, used to improve the goalkeepers’ reflex, sneaked through Baljit’s visor and hit his eye. “That was the most horrible day of my life. I was practising with four goalkeepers. We were in fact playing a game and Adrian had won first game while Balli was winning the second. “We thought that he is celebrating his victory as we were some 10 yards away from him. Later we got to know that his eye was severely injured. It took 40 minutes to reach the hospital and he was continuously telling me ‘I am ok coach saab, tussi fikar na karo (you don’t worry)’. He himself called his father and told him about the accident,” James recalled.

Even though former players criticised the use of golf ball in practice, James said they have been doing it for quite a while without any accident. “We have been using golf ball for the last two years. We have specially designed helmets for that.”

Baljit apparently did not wear that special helmet during the practice and James disclosed that there was only one such headgear for four goalkeepers.

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