17-year-old young defender Bikash Yumnam became the first-ever Indian to feature in The Guardians’ ‘Next Generation’ top-60 list this year. Players like Trent Alexander Arnold, Martin Ødegaard, Ansu Fati, Mason Greenwood, Rodrygo, and Takefusa Kubo have featured in this list in earlier years.
This year Bikash Yumnum has featured in this list along with Yusuf Demir of Rapid Vienna, Rayan Cherki of Lyon, Ilaix Moriba of FC Barcelona, Marcelo Flores of Arsenal and Israel Salazar of Real Madrid, Edouard Michut and Xavi Simons of Paris Saint-Germain.
Bikash Yumnam is a product of the Minerva Football academy. He joined Punjab FC in 2019. But he was sent to Indian Arrows on loan immediately after joining. Bikash has played 9 games for Indian Arrows in last season’s I-League. Though he is a centre back he can play as a defensive midfielder as well. He played as a defensive midfielder last season against East Bengal in which Indian Arrows won by 1-0.
After ending his loan spell at Indian Arrows, he came back to Punjab FC in May. He was approached by some of the ISL and I-League clubs. But the Manipur boy has turned down all the offers.
Bikash was a part of Indian U-16 team Asian Championship team in 2018 where India kept 3 clean-sheets in group stages and progressed to the quarter final.
Bikash Yumnam is a very composed defender with the ball in his feet. His game reading ability is exceptional. Attributes like fast and long throw-ins make him different from others.
From the small town of Manipur to World’s top-60 next-generation player, Bikash has made a long journey. We all hope he will make India proud in the coming years.
Do check out: