As someone who grew up as the ninth of the twelve grandchildren in the family where all my older cousins followed and supported Manchester United; I began to watch football when I was as young as three years old, back in 1996. I was lucky to have become a United fan at the peak of their powers and to watch some of their most incredible seasons of football including their treble winning season of 1999.
Names such as David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Phil and Gary Neville, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, etc, became legends, sort of like Disney fairytale characters, in our tiny little minds. These were people we dreamed of, tossing around and kicking footballs in our bed, dreaming that one day we would watch them or even dare to play alongside them in the "Theatre of Dreams", Old Trafford, Manchester. Sadly, that shall remain a dream with all of them having retired from professional football.
Enter Premier Futsal.
The prospect of seeing Scholes and Giggs play in our very own Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, is something I never imagined would happen. I can’t wait to go out there and scream my lungs out and watch them mesmerize us on the field. The excitement is unreal. I expect nothing less then a bone chilling and hair raising experience. Another reason to go out there is to show my support for one of my team mates from our local football team Untitled FC, Faraz Abdul Azzez, who having made the cut to join the Chennai Futsal team will share the field with these big international names.
The sport has grown leaps and bounds in the last couple of years with the introduction of ISL (Indian Super League) and better infrastructure being established in form of multiple indoor futsal turf courts, conducting tournaments regularly throughout the city, and a beautiful grass field at Nehru Park, developed as a training field for the Chennaiyin FC team being used for lower division matches. There has never been a better time to be a local talent in Chennai.
I envy all those teenagers who have begun to chase their dream of playing professional football, because what seemed like a fairytale as kid has, thanks to events like ISL and Premier Futsal, become a very attainable goal to strive towards and achieve. In the next few years, I hope we see some young, talented footballers from our country take the world stage. As a football fan from Chennai, the future seems very bright indeed.
Thank you ISL, thank you Premier Futsal.