In a country of 1.2 billion people, football is a revolution. But yet India fails to garner recognition at the highest level of the game solely due to the lack of funding from the government which always focuses on putting all the money into Cricket. In such a country where football is no less a religion than cricket is, talent is enormous.
In a country of 1.2 billion people, football is a revolution. But yet India fails to garner recognition at the highest level of the game solely due to the lack of funding from the government which always focuses on putting all the money into Cricket. In such a country where football is no less a religion than cricket is, talent is enormous, potential is unparalleled and there is one talented player in probably every half a square kilometre who deserves more than just an evening date with the ball.
Such a talent is 11-year old Chandan Nayakhailing from Sabar Sahi slum of the city in one of the most impoverished areas of Bhubaneshwar. This young football prodigy has been selected to trainat Germany’s most iconic club Bayern Munich, as an academy player for two months after his talent was accurately identified by many in the small yet significant industry which proved to be successful this once.
“The boy is a talented played and we spotted him when he was very young. He has been training with us for the last three to four years. In the last one year, we have taken him from some very rigorous training and used modules which we see in international clubs and it has paid us rich dividends. When he was selected in Odisha, he was the youngest (11). The selection criteria said that the age should be between 14 to 16 and being an 11-year-old kid he was not allowed but we asked them to give him a chance, he surprised everyone.”
-Chandan’s coach Jayadev Mahapatra
The youngster from Orissa had a broken childhood after his father had deserted him at a very young age. His mother worked as a servant at various places and somehow managed to able to barely hold the family together. Her sacrifice to ensure that her children are brought up in a proper way was pivotal and furthermore, Chandan coming from a poor family stands as a sign of bravery because against all odds.
For this talented 11-year old who is a Lionel Messi fan, training with players from Germany’s top club will be his ultimate achievement and this will help him grow as a player and perhaps into someone who will make India proud. For someone like him whosepassion for the game won above his lack of proper funding in order to play the game, this chance provided to him is huge.
Chandan’s coach Jayadev Mahapatra was also effusive in his praise for both the Central and State government, saying that all necessary documents had been created in time for his hassle-free travel.
In a country where there is an immense lack of proper training facilities in the field of football, we must be thankful to these big clubs like Bayern Munich who is giving young players who don’t even have money to buy a proper pair of boots, a chance to train with them. There are thousands of kids like young Chandan today and they go unnoticed every day by normal people who don’t even know where to look. Let’s hope Chandan is a first in the line of many players who will get the chance to take Indian football to the level we all want it to go to.
Let’s hope this 11-year old kid grows up to make us proud.