ISL: Chennai auto driver's son keen to strike it big in Mumbai

Updated: Dec 28, 2017, 11:46 IST | Noel D'Souza | Mumbai

Nothing seems to be going right for Indian Super League (ISL) side Delhi Dynamos, currently languishing at the bottom of the table with just a solitary win from six matches. Desperate for points

Nandhakumar Sekar
Nandhakumar Sekar 

Nothing seems to be going right for Indian Super League (ISL) side Delhi Dynamos, currently languishing at the bottom of the table with just a solitary win from six matches. Desperate for points, the Lions land in Mumbai today to gear up to face Mumbai City FC tomorrow. Surely, the morale of the side is low. A source of inspiration will be a huge boost and Delhi can look no further than to their own midfielder Nandhakumar Sekar, who joined the side from I-League team Chennai City FC this year.

Nandha, 22, has not experienced a comfortable upbringing. Hailing from the Vyasarpadi slums, a low-lying area of Chennai, lack of proper housing, sanitation and drainage made it all the more difficult for the development of a child, but he was resolute in his fight to be successful. "The situation then was quite bad. My house was in bad shape," he told mid-day from the comfort of a hotel room in New Delhi yesterday. To make ends meet, Nandha's father Sekar, an autorickshaw driver, was the breadwinner of the family having to support his two sons and wife. "I never used to like the sight of him driving the auto everyday, but there was no other option," he added.

Sekar Senior
Sekar Senior

Football, thankfully, turned out to be the saving grace for Nandha, who first picked up his boots when he was studying in Class V. "When I joined Hindustan University college, I used to play for Hindustan Eagles in the 2014 Chennai League. I played there for two years and then Chennai City FC happened," he recalled. He scored his first professional goal for Chennai City against East Bengal this year. Nandha made his ISL debut on December 6 in Delhi Dynamos' 0-1 loss to Jamshedpur FC. Right now, he's enjoying the exposure the ISL is providing. "There are better players to play with, better quality training sessions and the money too is bigger than I-League," he said.

However, despite his success, his father would still prefer his son to take up a government job rather than being a footballer.
"My father still forces me to take up a government job, but I am stubborn. Even without a government job, I'll prove to my dad that I can support the family with the money I earn," said Nandha, who's ultimate dream is to play for the senior India team.

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