Labourer's son, cabbie's daughter picked for QPR training
"When I saw Aditi rubbing shoulders with kids from private schools, it made me proud. It's all due to her hard work," he said
City teenagers Sagar Rathod (13) and Aditi Pandire (13) come from humble backgrounds, but their talent and passion for football have earned them a trip to train with an English club in London. Sagar and Aditi are among four teenagers who were shortlisted yesterday to train at London-based Queens Park Rangers Football Club's youth academy (for a 10-day period in October) as part of the South Mumbai Junior Soccer Challenge, an initiative by politician Milind Deora.
The other two are Yohan Poonawala (Bombay International, Babulnath) and Nishka Prakash (Edubridge International, Grant Road). Sagar, a Class VIII student of Colaba Municipal School, has had to undergo a lot of hardship to pursue his football dream. The striker is a resident of the Ambedkar Nagar slums in Colaba and his father Gopal is a construction site worker.
"I'm so happy today. When Sagar used to come home and tell me that he has scored goals, I would feel very proud. Everyone told me that my son is very talented and that I should encourage him, but I'm a poor man. What can I do? He has achieved this on his own. At times, I don't even have enough money to give him for his daily travelling expenses but that never stopped him from going for practice," Gopal told mid-day yesterday.
Meanwhile, Aditi, a student of Sai Baba Path Mumbai Public School (Lalbaug), is hoping to wear the India blue one day. "It's great to make the final four from so many good players. I want to make a career in football and play for India," said the class VII student. Aditi's father, Milind, a cab driver, said his daughter's achievement proves that even students from Municipality schools can make it big. "When I saw Aditi rubbing shoulders with kids from private schools, it made me proud. It's all due to her hard work," he said.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Ravi Shastri re-appointed as Team India head coach