Earl Almeida’s grandfather, Kelvin, dreamt of playing hockey for India. But the best he could achieve was break into the Maharashtra junior national team, which won the national championships way back in 1945.
Kelvin could not make it to the India squad, which at that time, was the best in the world, but the desire is still alive in the family, with the young Earl wanting to devote himself to hockey and earn the right to represent the country in the coming years.
The 15-year-old scored five goals as St Stanislaus (Bandra) beat St Paul’s (Dadar) 11-0 in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) under-16 Ahmed Sailor tournament at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium (Churchgate) yesterday. The win kept Stanislaus in the hunt for a semi-final place.
“My grandfather used to show me clippings of his matches. He taught me the basics of hockey. This helped me develop a passion for the sport,” the Class X student told MiD DAY yesterday.
“My father couldn’t be a hockey player, but I decided to take up the sport. I hope to play for India someday and fulfill my grandfather’s dream,” Earl added.
Earl said his grandfather, who is 83 now, cannot come to watch him play, but he never fails to discuss his match.
“He cannot travel to watch me play because of his age, but he always asks me about my game,” said Earl, who has scored eight goals in three matches so far. Other than hockey, Earl has also participated in cycling events.
St Stanislaus coach Hycinth Cardoz lavished praise on Earl, saying: “He is a boon to us. I hope he continues his good form in a do-or-die match against St Anne’s on Friday.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Barnes, Dhruv Cardoza, Duane Pereira and Eli Rodrigues were the other goal-scorers for the Bandra school yesterday.
> Our Lady of Dolours 1 (Batala Bhimbahadur) beat St Anne’s, Malad 0
> St Andrew’s, Bandra 6 (Denzil Mascarenhas 3, Shakib Shaikh, Krishnav Yadav, Azfar N) beat St Joseph Sec, Malad 1 (Amaya Malharkar)
> Don Bosco, Matunga 13 (Bryce Miranda 2, Shalom Monteiro 3, Shannon Murzello 2, Aradhya Deolekar 2, Troy D’Souza, Roseenberg Gabriel, Gravin Prabhu) beat Ryan International, Chembur 0.
> St Stanislaus, Bandra 11 (Earl Almeida 5, Kevin Barnes, Dhruv Cardoza, Duane Pereira and Eli Rodrigues) beat St Paul’s, Dadar 0.