Colaba Municipal’s dominant display against Bombay International (Babulnath) in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) U-16 Div II inter-school match at Azad Maidan yesterday was not enough to take them to victory. Nevertheless, one player who stood out for his impressive display in the 1-1 draw was right half Kanhaiya Rathod from the Colaba school.
The 16-year-old showed a lot of flair from the first whistle and put his team ahead in the 21st minute, making the most of a pass from Akash Jadhav. But Municipal could not hold on to that lead for long as Bombay International equalised three minutes later, courtesy Shiv Makim.
Unlike many of his teammates, Kanhaiya is a late bloomer and the major reason for this is the tremendous hardships he’s had to brave so far. He lost his father when he was barely two months old and was brought up by his mother who works as a maid and elder brother Jagdish, a taxi driver.
His father’s absence is something that pains Kanhaiya a great deal. “I feel unfortunate to have never seen him, and my mother has never told me anything about dad. I don’t even know how he passed away. Whenever I ask about dad my mother starts crying,” the Class X student said.
“My mother and brother have struggled a lot for me. My brother drives a taxi from five in the morning to late in the evening,” he added. Kanhaiya said it’s not easy for the family of five - including his sister-in-law and her eight-month-old daughter to stay in a one-room chawl at Cuffe Parade.
“My brother earns about Rs 250 per day while my mom too earns very little. That amount isn’t enough for us to survive in Mumbai. I hope I could bail them out of this poverty.” All that Kanhaiya wants now is to excel at football and do his family proud. “I want my family to be proud of me. I pray that I have a bright future in football.”
Due to financial problems, the youngster spent the first seven years of his life in his village in Karnataka, before moving to Mumbai. He wants to see his school in Div I next year and is keen to carry on his good performance.
Colaba Municipal coach Rajiv Daryanani lavished praise on Kanhaiya, saying: “He was very good on the field today. He made most of the opportunities and was very active.” In another match, St Mary’s ICSE ‘A’ (Mazagaon) beat Lilavatibai Podar (Santacruz) 1-0.