Becoming a source of inspiration for many sports enthusiasts in the country, Chandan Nayak, an 11-year-old football prodigy from Sabar Sahi slum in Bhubaneswar, has been selected to train at Bayer Munich in Germany. It is one of the most sought-after football clubs in Europe, and Chandan has been selected as an academy player for an all-expenses-paid junior football camp.
Chandan comes from an underprivileged family and has crossed several hurdles to reach where he is today. His father deserted the family when Chandan was very young and his mother works as a domestic help. His coach, Jaydev Mahapatra, noticed his skills and trained him for about three years.
“I am very happy, want to become a player for the Indian team one day. I really want to thank my coach,” Chandan told ANI, adding that Lionel Messi is his favourite player.
The preliminary round for this selection was organised at Kalinga Stadium. He wasn’t allowed to participate initially because of his short height, but after some pleading and assurance on the part of the coach, the committee members let him play. They were blown away by his performance. The final round was conducted in Pune.
Jaydev told The Quint that the coach of Chennai Football Club, and Sunil Chhetri, a professional Indian footballer, were impressed by Chandan’s performance.
They have promised that he will receive coaching in one of India’s premier football clubs after returning from Germany.
After the selection, his coach realised that Chandan didn’t have a birth certificate. While there were some troubles in the beginning, they received help from the state and central government and his passport, visa and birth certificate were ready in time. Chandan will be leaving for Germany on August 25. He will receive training from some of the best coaches there, along with 120 students from across the world. “The training he will receive there is beyond comparison [with anything] that we can give him in India. It is a huge opportunity. He will create a huge expectation for the slum kids who play soccer today,” said Jaydev.