Young footballer Khatib Mohammed fights all odds to pursue passion
St Mary's key player Khatib Mohammed dribbles past poor financial conditions at home following father's death to continue football dream
For young Khatib Mohammed, 14, football is like the air he breathes. The beautiful game motivates him and it has become his passion. However, a couple of years ago, his desire to play football virtually came to an end as he faced plenty of hardships following the untimely demise of his father Aslam, the breadwinner in the family, due to illness. But thanks to the backing from his mother (Nasim) and uncles, he is still playing and has been playing a major role in shaping the success of his school, St Mary's SSC. The Mazagaon outfit reached the MSSA inter-schools boys U-16 Div I final yesterday, beating Jamnabai Narsee 1-0 at Azad Maidan.
"I was eight when I lost my father. He worked as a manager with Digi Cable Company, while my mother stayed at home to look after my younger sister and me. My father's death created a huge void for us and since he was the only earning member, it affected our finances. We had to cut down on expenses and I had to stop playing football," the talented Khatib revealed to mid-day after yesterday's semi-final.
St Mary's Khatib Mohammed during the semi-final v Jamnabai Narsee yesterday. Pics/Suresh Karkera
"I was shattered and depressed because I was unable to play my favourite sport. It also affected my studies as I was unable to concentrate, but I didn't lose hope. I somehow managed to convince my mother and uncles [father's elder brothers] Aziz and Gani, in particular, who have been taking care of us, to allow me to continue playing football. They agreed, but with a few conditions," the attacking winger Khatib added.
Nasim, who accompanied Khatib yesterday, said, "I understood what he was going through, and his uncles were supportive too, so we decided to back him. But, we warned him not to neglect his studies and insisted he got good grades. He has lived up to his end of the bargain and has been getting good marks."
St Mary's coach Atish Ruke was all praise for his young forward. "Khatib is our mainstay. He's like one of the arms in our attack. He can play on either flank and that gives me plenty of options. He is one of the most disciplined boys, very committed and hardworking. I'm sure he will go on to become a top footballer," Ruke predicted.
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