Teacher’s note changed Indian football skipper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s fortunes : The Tribune India

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Teacher’s note changed Indian football skipper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s fortunes

Teacher’s note changed Indian football skipper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s fortunes

Indian captain Gurpreet Singh Sandhu



Tribune News Service

Deepankar Sharda

Chandigarh, June 11

A small gesture can change someone’s world, and this happened with young Gurpreet Singh Sandhu during a practical exam of physical education at St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, Chandigarh.

Proud moment for Chandigarh

I am happy, it’s good to see him play wearing the captain’s armband. It’s a proud moment for Chandigarh. Harjit Kaur, Sandhu’s mother

On Tuesday, when the 32-year-old Indian goalie wore the captain’s armband, he must be remembering a small note written in his school diary.

“Football selection trials after two days, allow him to appear” said the note written by the school physical training teacher after he spotted Sandhu winning the 100m race by a margin of almost 10m. It was then that Sandhu was introduced to football and since then there’s been no looking back.

Sandhu, who replaced Sunil Chhetri, captained the Indian side in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Qatar, Doha, on Tuesday evening. He is perhaps the second footballer from Chandigarh after Sandesh Jhingan to captain the Indian side.

“Gurpreet was one of our captains alongside Sunil and Sandesh (Jhingan) for the past five years, so naturally he is the one to take the responsibility at this moment,” said head coach Igor Stimac, while making an announcement a few days back. Sandhu, who made his international debut in 2011, led the Indian side against Puerto Rico in 2016 in a friendly match and against Qatar in 2019, during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

“I am very happy, it’s good to see him play wearing the captain’s armband. It’s a proud moment for Chandigarh as well,” said Sandhu’s mother Harjit Kaur, who is the first woman DSP of the Chandigarh Police. Sandhu’s father, who retired from the Punjab Police, now enjoys seeing his son play. “We hardly meet him as he travels a lot. However, we make sure of spending time with him whenever he returns to Chandigarh. Had it not been for his coaches, he might have ended up being a cop like us,” laughed Harjit.

His coaches Surinder Singh and Bhupinder Singh Pinka still train footballers. It was Pinka who wrote the note in Sandhu’s diary. “He still enjoys coming to St Stephen’s and spending time with children,” said Pinka.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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