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Last updateThu, 24 Jul 2014 4am

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Successful Indian stint inspires Theobald revitalization

Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Densill Theobald calls for new challenges following a successful five-month loan stint with Indian club Dempo SC in the I-League.

The 29-yearold Caledonia AIA player returned home three weeks ago with an I-League winner’s medal and memories that will surely last a lifetime.

It was the third championship (2007-2008, 2009-2010 and 2011-2012) success by Dempo since the introduction of the I-League in 2007 and it was revealed this week that Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, who owns Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders, has shown interest in picking up stakes in the club and talks are at an initial stage.

Meantime in Trinidad, Theobald, who is cherishing time with his daughters, 5 year old Faith James and 2 year old Jada-Lee Theobald, remains in a positive mode despite no new talks yet with Dempo and or TT Pro League club Caledonia over his future.

“I believe greatness is next for me,” said the 2006 Trinidad and Tobago World Cup midfielder. “The way how I feel right now, I believe that only great things are in store for me.”

He continued, “I would like to continue playing abroad, but we don’t know what the future holds. We’re not God, so whatever direction he chooses for me I would humbly accept with the right focus and give it my best with the right attitude and the right way of living and doing things.

“If it’s [God’s] will that I stay home and play in the Pro League, then I would just have to accept it. But personally, I would like other challenges and move on and continue my career abroad.”

Theobald was spotted by Dempo and India Men’s Senior Team manager Armando Colaço last August during an international between T&T and India at the Hasely Crawford Stadium as part of the visitors’ Caribbean tour. T&T won that match 3-0.

“I put [all the negatives] behind and just focused on contributing in whatever way I can contribute to help (Dempo) win the Championship …which we did,” Theobald said.

“It was a great feeling after all the hard work we put in, after all the sacrifice made being away from families and friends. It was a great feeling that I was able to accomplish the main goal which was winning the Championship. It was a really great feeling because it was my first ever Championship.”

Theobald began his football with the Jean Lillywhite coaching school and went on to represent Canadian side Toronto Olympians (2000), Caledonia AIA (2002, 2004-2005, 2006-2007, 2008-2011), Joe Public (2003), Scottish club Falkirk (2005-2006) and  Hungarian club Újpest FC (2007).

In India there wasn’t much of a language barrier for Theobald as “most people speak English besides their own language” according to the player.

“In Goa where I stayed, they speak Konkani (Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-European family of languages). They spoke their language with each other, but when they wanted to speak with me, they spoke English which was good for me.”

As for the cuisine, Theobald said, “The people lived on curry and massala everyday and it was difficult for me to live on that diet, so I mixed it up. I would visit some international restaurants, make a meal myself and there were some Nigerians I made good friends with, so I was able to eat some Nigerian food as well.”

Theobald’s stint in India became more than an I-League Championship medal and the difference in culture, food, people and atmosphere.

He explained, “The good thing about going to India and being by myself, is that I was able to look within myself and truly find myself, and change the way I think in some situations. [That’s why I believe] only great things are in store for me once I continue keeping the focus, the passion and desire going.

It is important for me to keep working hard as well. I have to keep that focus because if I want to achieve great things in the future I need to keep focus and keep working hard.”