Don Bosco, Matunga’s Rahul Swami made his inter-school U-16 Elite Division debut in style yesterday. The 14-year-old midfielder’s sixth minute goal helped the defending champions register a 2-1 win over St Lawrence, Kandivli on the opening day of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) Div I inter-school competition at Azad Maidan.
Striker Mark D’Souza scored in the 23rd minute to help the Matunga side lead 2-0 at the end of the first half. Nehal Shetty scored for St Lawrence in the 50th minute. But by that time it was too late for the boys from Kandivli.
After the game, Swami pointed out that he was able to represent Bosco largely due to the efforts of their coach Leslie Machado. “I’m very happy I scored a goal in my first match of the MSSA season.
I hope there are many more to follow in this tournament. I thank Leslie Sir for having faith in me and allowing me to be part of the team. I hope I can live up to his expectations,” said Rahul.
But life hasn’t been easy for Rahul who stays in the school hostel as a boarder. He lost his father (Vishal) when he was a two-year-old. His mother, Josephine, who works as a housemaid at NCPA admitted him to the school so that he could concentrate on his studies.
“I used to stay with my mother in a chawl in Colaba before joining Don Bosco and played football for St Joseph’s, Colaba. My mother didn’t want me to get into wrong company so she admitted me to Don Bosco. I miss her a lot, but it motivates me to do something in life and make her proud,” he said.
Machado too had words of encouragement for Swami. “Rahul is a talented kid. He is a key member of the team. Today he opened the goal scoring for us and that played a very important role in the win,” he said.
The other U-16 match between last-year’s runners-up Campion, Cooperage and St Anne’s, Malad ended in a 1-1 draw. Aryaan Sood scored for Campion while Roven Novias equalized for St Annes.