Malemnganba Meitei is a professional footballer who plays for Gokulam Kerala Fan Club (GKFC) as a midfielder in the Indian Super League and runs a football academy in Manipur. He was a part of the GKFC squad that won the Durand Cup in 2018-19, helped the North Eastern Re-Organising Cultural Association (NEROCA) FC seize victory in the I-League 2 2017 championship, and the BFC squad in the Hero I-League in 2014.
Malem says winning is always a great feeling and has been achieved with the hard work he has put on the ground day in and day out.
“I won my first I- League trophy with Bengaluru FC in 2013. And I'm the first player to win the Man of the Match Award from the club. The coach always told us or advised us to focus only on the match ahead of us. One match at a time,” he says.
Malem started his football career when he was just six years old, inspired by the Brazil national team during the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He played for the North Eastern Reorganising Cultural Association (NEROCA) football team in 2007. However, his professional football journey started in 2009 when he was
signed by the North Imphal Sporting Association (NISA). He has also played for Bengaluru, Mumbai, and NEROCA football clubs.
The BA graduate has participated in several I-League matches over the years, including the Bengaluru Football Club I-League and Mumbai Football Club I-League championship in 2015-2016, the Fateh Hyderabad AFC 2nd Division I-League championship in 2016, the NEROCA FC I-League championship in 2016-2017, the Northeast United FC Indian Super League championship in 2017-2018, the Tiddim Road Athletic Union 2nd Division I-League in 2018, the NEROCA FC I-League in 2018-2019, the Gokulam Kerala FC I-League 2019-2020, the FC Bengaluru United 2nd Division I-League in 2020-2021, the Real Kashmir FC I-League in 2021-2022, and the Tripura I-League in 2023.
The challenges he has faced in life have always related to football. Malem’s dream was always to play football at a higher level in the community, but it's not easy to be a part of the community. Managing studies and sports was also a challenge.
Malem credits his family and friends for motivating him to go beyond the ordinary. He says he was selected for the Under-16 Nationals, but his family and friends motivated him to go beyond that, which proved to be the turning point in his life.
The talented footballer believes training is vital to a professional athlete's life. He says his coaches and training have been top-notch. Everything is structured by the coach and the physical trainer. They define the dos and don’ts. His training has been intense; the gym sessions are of the highest standard. Malem says the team has to be physically and mentally fit to meet the coach's requirements.
Malem has had his share of setbacks. He says there have been times when the results didn't come as per plan. However, he doesn’t let his defeats faze him and believes results automatically follow if one puts in hard work on and off the field.
He thanks his trainer and nutritionist for charting meal plans and telling him what to eat and avoid.
“I didn't know what pre-workout and pre-match meals should be taken and eaten, what should be taken during the game and after. My knowledge was very limited, but the physical trainer and nutritionist only told us what to take, what to avoid, etc. Mealtime was the most important part of my journey. The routine I still followed was proper breakfast- no oily stuff, small meals, and so on. Similarly, I followed my workout schedule,” says Malem.
Malem became a part of Steadfast Nutrition in 2019. He is a fan of all the wellness ranges, but his favourites are Power Active, Active BCAA, Multivitamin, Vitamin D3, and Melatonin.
Malem loves the protein supplement Power Active the most. He says it helps him prevent protein deficiency leading to muscle loss, improving his athletic performance.
“Power Active contains multi-source carbohydrates that are easily digestible and energy-giving without loading the stomach. It contains no added sugar but has energy-producing healthy carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, vitamins and minerals that act as important cofactors during energy production”.
Besides playing football, Malem loves reading.
He hopes to become a good football coach and expand his football academy.
Steadfast Nutrition is glad to fuel him as he takes his performance and team to the next level.