Can’t wait to taste Hyderabadi Biryani: Rohit Danu

Youngster spends a fun hour answering questions from HFC fans

Of the many success stories that were scripted out of Hyderabad FC’s 2020-21 Indian Super League season, the emergence of the exciting youngster Rohit Danu is one of real emotion.

The 18-year-old, who hails from Bageshwar Uttarakhand was on the brink of playing the FIFA U-17 World Cup before injuries had their say. But he worked hard, came back strong and is now a star in the making under Manolo Marquez.

Danu saw just 30 minutes of action this season, but played a role in two crucial goals, coming off the bench. The youngster is now a popular figure among the HFC faithful who were delighted to have him on board for a digital round of discussion.


Overcoming the injury setback before the U-17 World Cup…

As a kid, it was a dream for me to represent India at the World Cup. When I was in the probables, the dream was close to coming true. So when injury hit, it was really hard to take. I was frustrated and disappointed as I lost a huge opportunity.

But my coaches, teammates, friends and family were with me through it. They encouraged me to work harder and pushed me in search of something bigger in the future.

The difference between playing for the Indian Arrows and Hyderabad FC…

My first season with Hyderabad FC was a memorable one. The players, the coaches and the staff were really helpful and there was a lot I could learn, on and off the field. At Indian Arrows, there was a lot to learn from the coaches, but in the ISL, everyone, including the players around you are more experienced.

My teammates at the Indian Arrows were pretty good, but experience matters a lot and that has been the biggest difference for me in this season.

Favourite position…

At the start of my career, I was a midfielder, usually played on the right side. But when I joined the National Team, Coach Bibiyano Fernandez told me that I can be a really good striker. I trained as a striker and learnt a lot under him, especially the mindset of a striker.

In the camp for the U17 World Cup, Coach Luis Norton de Matos told me I can be effective as a winger. I played there a couple of times and the coach was impressed.

But when I came back from the injury, I had to play all over the field. Even at HFC, Coach Manolo told me I can be a good attacking midfielder as I cannot be a striker yet. I believe that playing with confidence is as important as the position that you play in.

Training under Manolo Marquez…

Manolo Marquez is a great coach and a really nice person. With me, he was like a friend. He is funny, makes sure that every player and even the staff is comfortable. You can share anything you want with him on and off the field.

As a coach, his experience is invaluable and what we can learn from him is unlimited. So, my first season with HFC has been a great learning curve for me.

Manolo’s message before coming on against Bengaluru FC…

We were 2-0 down when Coach Manolo came up to me and asked me if I could play on the wing. I had previous experience there so I said yes without hesitation. Then he explained to me what my role would be for the last few minutes, told me the formation, wanted me to put in crosses and wished me all the best.

Luckily, I managed to play well and we came back to draw the game in stoppage time. After the game, the emotions were running high. Coach Manolo came up to me and we embraced a warm hug. He told me Well done and I felt really proud!

Favourite match of the season…

The 2-2 draw against Bengaluru FC is definitely my favourite game of the season. The 2-2 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan with 10-men was also a memorable game.

The roommate at Hyderabad FC…

Akash Mishra. I spent time with him at Indian Arrows as well. I actually met him when I was with the Arrows and he had a tough time with injuries in the first season. But in the second season, he got over his injuries, played regularly and is now playing for the National Team. A great roommate to have and I am proud of where he is right now.

Work out and diet during lockdown…

I work out every day for around three hours. Usually in the evening so I can give my 100%.

From pre-season till the end of the season, we usually follow strict diets. But, I guess, you are allowed to cheat when you are home. I like the street food we get in Uttarakhand but I do set a limit for myself.

Time spent on Social Media…

After a lot of hesitation… I have network issues which is a problem. But yes, I spent quite some time on Instagram.

Role Model…

My Brother, Naveen Singh Danu. I learnt to play football from him and he is a real inspiration to me.

Favourite Player…

Cristiano Ronaldo

Lucknowi or Hyderabadi Biryani?

I have never been to Lucknow. I have heard a lot about the famous Hyderabadi Biryani and I can’t wait to taste it.

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