Bhubaneswar: Defying all odds, 11-year-old slum boy Chandan Nayak on Wednesday flew to Mumbai before reaching the prestigious Bayern Munich football club in Germany to train as an academy player.
11 yrs old Chandan Nayak from Bhubaneswar (Odisha) selected to train at Bayern Munich (Germany) as an academy player pic.twitter.com/JDxSPdxrj5
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Chandan, who lives at Sabar Sahi slum here along with his mother Duhita Nayak, a woman deserted by her husband long ago, is confident to acquire the techniques of football before completion of his two months training.
"I do not remember my father. My mother fed me and my younger brother by working as a domestic help. I had lost hope to visit Germany as there was problem in getting visa. Finally I got it from Kolkata," Chandan, a student of class VII in the Capital High School, said before boarding a flight to Mumbai.
The boy's love for the game came to the limelight like another slum boy Budhia Singh, the wonder marathon runner.
"I found Chandan while imparting free football training to slum boys of Bhubaneswar. Chandan was staying at Sabar Sahi slum close to Kalinga Stadium. I found magic in the boy and picked him up," said Chandan's coach Jaydev Mohapatra.
Mohapatra thanked Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Dharmendra Pradhan and Bhubaneswar Mayor AN Jena for helping the boy to get his visa.
"The boy finally got a ticket to Germany. We are extremely happy. He will bring laurels for the country," he said.
Chandan, who lives in a 10x12 feet room, did not have a recognised birth certificate. Bhubaneswar Mayor Jena helped him get a birth certificate and finally the visa was issued to the boy.
"We are too poor. We do not have a television set at home. But, my son is a big fan of Messi. He has purchased a jersey with Messi's name written on it. I will be happy if he makes the country proud. We have to wait till that day," Chandan's mother said.
Mohapatra said though the initial training offer was for two months, Chandan would show his talent to please the selectors at Bayern Munich.
He said Chandan qualified in all levels of the competition to get this chance and Sunil Chettri, head selector at the Pune selection camp, was surprised by the skills of the young footballer.
The selection criteria was to pick boys in the age group of 14 to 16 and Chandan (11) was not allowed initially.
"But we requested them to give him a chance and Chandan surprised everyone. His technique in passing and dribbling surprised all," Mohapatra said.
The coach said Chandan would be among the 120 children from across the world to get training in Germany.
"Chandan is a source of inspiration for slum kids who play football," Mohapatra added.