Bimal Ghosh

Why even the distressed kids are living with a motto of 'Lets Football'?

[caption id="attachment_63552" align="aligncenter" width="580"]WhatsApp Image 2018-02-26 at 1.10.19 PM These kids get ample support from Madhavrao Sonba School to play football. Image Source: XtraTime[/caption]

Sabyasachi Bagchi: Micah Jalal Sheikh, Khushahal Singh, Sapna Rajpure, Pooja Gupta – all of them are from a place called Hadapsar in Pune. They all are basically underprivileged children. Playing football is a distant object there, even studying becomes difficult at times. They fight with poverty, day in day out. Some of them find their mothers getting tortured every night by their intoxicated fathers.

Their family life though is getting a ray of hope these days, and it is the game of football which has helped them to change the sultry atmosphere. These students of Late Madhavrao Sonba Tupe English Medium School are grateful to have someone like Ryan Roy Shah an AIFF and FA (England) licensed coach, who has become a ‘brother’ from ‘sir’ in the last eleven months. He has taken this project up as a charity and has spent upwards of INR 50,000/- from his own pocket on the kids kit, equipment, fuel for transport etc.

This is perhaps how time flies. The former student of legendary I-League coach Bimal Ghosh was a goalkeeper in his playing days in teams like Air India and Mumbai Tigers. Talking about training these distressed kids, Ryan was saying, “The way I have been coaching these kids, wouldn’t have been possible had there been no Bimal Sir. I am lucky to have a mentor like him. I got the offer from this school in March, 2017. Their performance was not at all up to the mark at that stage. Few of them lost their interest to play the game as well. To bring them back to the field was not easy.”

Presently 18 male and 7 female footballers are training under him. Two of them are playing for FC Pune City Senior Women’s football team. His players are playing with pride at U14 national level competitions as well. Two boys play for All India Youth Football Academy, an established club in Pune, run by the highly reputed Vivek Nagul.

The kids too are enjoying their lives these days. Khushahal loves to do a bit of football freestyle. He was saying, “I used to play cricket only. Jishnu Bhayya (school teacher) inspired me to play football. Ryan Bhayya is like a coach-cum-friend to us. He is the one, for whom we are now in love with the game of football. Football is our life these days.”

Sapna Rajpure, who plays for FC Pune City Senior Women’s Team, was saying, “Coach (Ryan) never differentiates between male and female footballers. That is why we are dreaming of taking the game to the next level to become good footballers. We are getting confident.”

Such power this game has, it breaks conventional boundaries, bridges the canyons, shows dreams of a milky way of a brighter life.

Sonba Raiders Squad:

Under-14 Boys: Micah Jalal Sheikh (Captain), Khushahal Singh, Rohit Vibhute, Nazir Inamdar, Nitesh Shastri, Sadik Shaikh, Kartik Mantur, Ayan Inamdar,

Under-14 Girls: Sapna Rajpure (Captain), Pooja Gupta, Tejaswini Sakat, Arpita Sonkamble, Khushi Kumari, Afiya Inamdar, Habiba Inamdar

Under-12 Boys: Rohan Badade (Captain), Rohit Sirvee, Swapnil Mantur, Ritesh Sonkamble, Ritesh Shastri, Siddharth Vardekar, Aryan Bhoite, Avdhut Sakat, Krishna Rode, Shailesh Shastri

Coach: Ryan Roy Shah | Manager: Arefa Bootwalla | Mentor: Jishnu Sarkar

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