Such performances didn't go unnoticed by European clubs and he was on the verge of signing for Kettering Town FC but missed the opportunity due to visa reasons.
"Now at this age I am not eyeing any hope of playing in Europe," he said, lamenting those missed opportunities. "For a long time I had harboured hopes of moving to Europe but now it looks less likely. European clubs focus on upbringing youth talents."
In a sense, Chand made up for the near-miss by joining India giants HAL SC before trying his luck in Indonesia and joining Persija in 2013. He impressed in his first season and was nominated for the Youth Player of the Year award.
Chand peaked when he returned to Jakarta for his second spell with Persija in 2017, winning the league and cup double the following year and was named the Indonesia league season's Most Valued Player.
“I feel my skills have improved and my play has reached a better level,” he said in reference to the progress made with Persija. “I owed my thanks to the club’s managerial team for the faith in me.”
Inspired by Maldini
Now Chand has established himself as a role-model figure with club and country, both on and off the pitch. While it is largely down to his hard work over the past two decades, he was quick to pay tribute to his childhood idol Paolo Maldini from whom he has drawn consistent inspiration.
“Maldini was my idol when I was a kid,” he said of the former Italy and AC Milan defender. “And he remains an idol and inspiration to me today. For me, he is more than just one of the best defenders the world has seen. Adding to that, his great personality, leadership and consistency in his performances were all things I grew up looking to.”
With a single win from five outings - a 2-0 victory over Chinese Taipei in Asia’s second round of qualifying for Qatar 2022 - Nepal are languishing second from the bottom in a challenging Group B which also features Australia, Jordan and Kuwait. While a place in the next round may be beyond their grasp, Chand is seeking incremental improvement from the Gorkhalis when the campaign resumes next year.
“Firstly we need to cope with the impact from COVID-19. Then we have to focus on the remaining games. Australia and Jordan are both very strong and even Chinese Taipei are a team that we can’t afford to underestimate.
“It is every player’s dream to go to the World Cup. But [in order to achieve that goal], we need to prepare ourselves by doing firstly well in the SAFF Championship and Asian Cup.”