Chandan is all of 11. At a tender age he has done the unthinkable by getting a chance to train at Germany’s iconic Bayern Munich club as a football prodigy. While Chandan has already left for his football stint in Munich, a proud Jayadev Mahapatra, the coach of the young star has said the boy is to soccer what Sachin is to cricket. A proudmentor that he is, he also compares the child to Lionel Messi.
Going against all odds, the 11-year-old football prodigy from an impoverished area of Sabar Sahi slum the boy will train as an academy player for two months.
Chandan has gone through a tough upbringing and journey in a bid to become a part of the Indian football team and bring accolades for the country.
Before leaving for Munich the youngster not only thanked his coach but also expressed his desire to play for the Indian football team one day.
Jayadev Mahapatra who has been with the boy through thick and thin says the struggle of the boy and his family must be seen as a sign of bravery.
Chandan’s father had deserted him at a very young age. His mother works as a maid at homes and is able to manage the family. It has been the mother who has looked after the son giving him all help needed while making both ends meet.
Chandan was spooted at a very young age by Jayadev and he has been training with him for the last three to four years. In the last one year he has been given rigorous training and used modules which are seen in international clubs and the results are for all to see.
When selected in Odisha, he became the youngest (11).
The young wonder is believed to have won over the great Sunil Chhetri.
In Germany, he will be playing asides greats like Phillip Lahm. The best coaches of the world will train him. Around 120 students from across the world will be coming. Many see a Messi in the boy, moreso because even Messi used to stay in an underprivileged area in Argentina before being scouted by Barcelona at the age of seven.
Thankfully the Centre and the State have helped the boy in everyway possible to realize his dream. Bayern Munich is one of the most sought after football clubs in Europe.
The preliminary round for this selection was organised at Kalinga Stadium. The final round was conducted in Pune.
After selection, his coach realised that Chandan didn’t have a birth certificate. While there were some troubles, they received help from the state and central government and his passport, visa and birth certificate were ready in time.
Indians notably have been passionate spectators to the European leagues like Premier League and La Liga. Indian sportspersons can only dream of being part of Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal have all held camps in India recently and sent their legends to improve the game. Bayern Munich is however playing the lead in this arena. Throughout the world, over 1000 kids have been looked at and around 100 have been selected to live their dream.
The young boy from Bhubaneswar will be looking at winning hearts to cement a permanent place and contract with an European club after Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who recently became the first Indian to start a match in the Europa Laeague.