By Abdul Gani, TwoCircles.net
Udalguri, Assam: Harisinga is a sleepy town in Assam’s Udalguri district along the India-Bhutan international border. Handicapped by insurgency till very recently along with poverty, the people of the locality have had to learn to survive in tough conditions.
But suddenly, a ray of hope has put a smile on the face of residents, and the source of this happiness is nine-year-old Chandan Boro.
Chandan, the son of a sweeper, has been selected recently for residential football training in Germany for six years. This resident of Harisinga been selected from the selection camp organised at Kokrajhar Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre last month by the Tata Trust, Mumbai under the Football Development Program in partnership with U Sports Mumbai and Germany under U Dream Football for selection of budding Under 15 football talents. He will leave for Germany in August. No wonder, this achievement has surprised and given a lot of hope to people of the village, apart from instilling a lot of pride among Chandan’s family and training staff.
“We are extremely happy and hopeful. He (Chandan) has become popular among the villagers as the ‘Germany going boy’. It’s good that everybody has supported him which will encourage the boy,” Samuel Basumatary, Chandan’s coach told TwoCircles.net.
The other reason that makes Chandan’s achievements so impressive is that apart from living in a lesser-known part of Assam, his family’s financial condition is extremely weak. Chandan lives in a shabby small single room hut beside the Railway station at Harisinga. His father sweeps the market place while his mother works as a cleaner at a local tea stall.
“No one could think that this boy would be selected for the training despite living in such challenging conditions. He has done us proud. We have high expectations from him,” said Gunjan Basumatary, a local.
A die-hard fan of North East United FC, Chandan, is very high on confidence.
“I’m feeling great. I don’t know much about the country (Germany) but I am confident of going there and playing good football,” Chandan, donning a replica of Germany’s most powerful football club Bayern Munich FC’s official jersey, said.
The journey started a couple of years back when, like any other child in the neighbourhood, Chandan also used to stand and watch on the side of the football ground where boys used to get training under Harisinga Football Coaching Centre (HFCC).
“We noticed him standing on the side of the ground. One day I asked him to come to play with boots. He was still very young but the child had something special. He is fast and has good dribbling skills which impressed us greatly,” said Samuel.
No wonder then, that a number of associations have come together to help Chandan achieve his dream.
The local unit of All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) and coach Samuel are working to help Chandan get his passport and other official documents ready for his trip.
And his selection for Germany has not only encouraged his fellow players, it has also helped bring a welcome addition to the local football. After Chandan’s selection, many girls who had hitherto shied away from football have now come out to play the game.
“We believe that we can also make it big. We are motivated to see Chandan Boro and now we want to train hard to play better football. Our parents are also supportive in this regard,” said Justina Daimary, a class X student, training at Harisinga Coaching Centre ground.
Pranay Narzary, president of the coaching centre said that as the girls have come out to play, they would give their best to improve their skills.
“People here are financially very backward. But I’m extremely happy to see the girls as they have come forward. We cannot even charge fee from them. But we are dedicated to give them whatever they needed,” Narzary told TCN. For now though, Harisinga dares to dream big, thanks to Chandan.