Jai Krishna Pandey made a fairytale debut in inter-school football yesterday by scoring the winning goal in DG Khetan International School’s (Malad) 2-0 win over Dr Antonio D’Silva School (Dadar) in the Mumbai School’s Sports Association (MSSA) boy’s U-14 Utpal Sanghvi knockout tournament at Azad Maidan. Nishant Amin opened the scoring for the Malad outfit via a solo effort in the 30th minute.
After the win, Jai said that his dream to play for his school team wouldn’t have been possible without his coach Deepak Patil. “I am very happy I scored a goal in my first match. I hope that I am able to score more goals for my team in the tournament. I thank Patil sir for having confidence in me and allowing me be in the playing XI today,” the 13-year-old striker said.
He recalled how his decision of making a switch from cricket to football worked in his favour. “Like many kids, even I dreamt of making a career in cricket. But after two years, the sport didn’t excite me. That’s when I decided to start playing football. It’s been less than a year that I have been playing football. But I enjoy the time I spend on the football ground with my team,” added Jai.
His coach was pleasantly surprised. He said, “I didn’t expect Jai to score today. It’s his first MSSA match and he started playing football recently. “Though he doesn’t have much experience of playing football, he has a good hand-eye co-ordination. He just needs a bit of grooming to be a better player.”