Ravi Shankar Paswan is a man of few words. Those who know him well also know that he doesn't speak much. "I don't like to talk much. I think I want my game do the talking," said Paswan with a smile.
Paswan, 23, who played with plastic balls and socks stuffed with rags in his younger days in Umjan, Bara, is now a regular in the national men's football team. Since making his debut against Kuwait in 2019, Paswan has went on to represent his country on eight occasions. "It doesn't bother me that I am yet to score for the national team. I love to assist more than score a goal," said the midfielder.
Paswan's passion towards football began early in his younger days. One day, prior to a District League football tournament, the district team played a friendly against Paswan's team. Bara district coach Krishna Mani Chaudhary was so impressed with Paswan, he drafted him into the district team and played him in the tournament. Paswan's Jan Jyoti Youth Club won the league and he was adjudged as the best player of the tournament. "I won a cycle from the league. That was the first thing I won as a footballer," said Paswan.
The club then went to Pokhara to participate in the Aaha Rara Gold Cup in 2014. His performance caught the eye of then Manang Marsyangdi Club's coach Raju Kaji Shakya. Shakya urged Paswan to play for MMC, a heavyweight in Nepali football. "MMC paid me a monthly salary of Rs 20,000. I gave the amount to my dad. It was a happy moment for as it was my first earning," said Paswan.
His club career took turn when MMC decided against playing in Shiva Satakshi Gold Cup in Jhapa. Then Nepal Police Club's Ananta Thapa invited him to play for NPC in the tournament. Paswan obliged. Paswan later also received a job offer from NPC. "I accepted the offer as my dad always wanted me to play for NPC. He had heard names of Hari Khadka, Jumanu Rai while listening commentary on radio and wanted me to represent the club," said Paswan.
Paswan is a player who has shone in knockout tournaments rather than league tournament. He has won numerous awards and cash prize during his career with MMC and NPC. "I won a scooter in Aaha Rara Gold Cup in 2017 and a motorbike in Khaptad Gold Cup in 2018. I have also won cash prizes on multiple occasions," he said. Asked about what he does with the earnings, he said he gives them all to his parents. "I know I am here because of the support I received from my family. Besides, it gives me a good feeling to repay the faith my parents had on me," said Paswan.
National team assistant coach Kiran Shrestha knows Paswan well since his debut against Kuwait. "He is a hardworking, disciplined lad. His speed is his strength on the pitch. He is lean and thin person and can become more lethal if he puts on some muscles," said Shrestha.
Paswan said he has made a lot of sacrifices and worked hard to represent his country. "Since I started playing football, I always wanted to represent my country. I think every footballer thinks the same way as I did but not everyone succeeds," he said. Paswan credits his never give up attitude as the reason for his success he has achieved so far. "I don't boast of achieving a lot but I thing I am where I am because of hard work. It’s the same with other too."
The midfielder said he hopes to continue in the national fold in coming years. He said he wanted to follow footsteps of fellow footballers and play in leagues in India and Maldives. "Hopefully I can achieve that. But I have to earn it and only way to achieve that is through hard work and discipline," said Paswan.