Help pours in for Mumbai teen football champ who was living in dire poverty

Updated: Nov 23, 2017, 19:21 IST | Asif Rizvi | Mumbai

A day after mid-day broke the story of a determined 16-year-old footballer Mary Naidu, who despite having no permanent home, sports gear or ground to practice on, dreams to someday play for the country, several people, including former MP Priya Dutt

Mumbaikars have once again proved that they have hearts of gold. A day after mid-day broke the story of a determined 16-year-old footballer Mary Naidu, who despite having no permanent home, sports gear or ground to practice on, dreams to someday play for the country, several people, including former MP Priya Dutt, came forward to extend their support to her.

Mary Naidu
Mary Naidu

Also Read: Sunshine Story: Teen Footballer Practices Under Sion Flyover With Ball Given By Narendra Modi

Dutt is expected to meet Mary and her parents today evening, and will be helping the girl through her NGO Nargis Dutt Foundation, said a spokesperson from the NGO. Aditya Kumar, the founder of travel company, travelegend.­com, has also promised financial support. "We read about Mary's skills in football and the hardships she has been facing. We are really keen on ensuring a bright future for her." Mary's coach Parvez Shaikh had also mentioned how the "disciplined and focused" teenager did not have jerseys, shoes and footballs to practice. That roadblock also will soon be ironed out.

The plastic shed she lives in
The plastic shed she lives in

After reading mid-day's report, Ishraque Gulrays of Sportnicians, a company dealing in sports products, has decided to gift Mary a basic football kit. "The kit will include jerseys and shorts, stockings, shin pads, studs, among other things. I've requested the family to send me the measurements so that I can arrange for the same as soon as possible. We are also planning to make a customised jersey for her," he said. Overwhelmed by the response, Mary's father, Prakash Naidu said, "I am very thankful to the people who've come forward to help my daughter. She will make all of them and our country proud."

mid-day had first reported on Tuesday about Mary, the daughter of a labourer and a defender in her girl's football team, who lives in a 10x10 plastic shed on the roads of Matunga. Mary, who was part of the Mission 11 Million programme — a football initiative aimed towards taking the game to 12,000 schools in 37 cities across the country — had even met PM Modi, who gifted her a football.

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