How Soccer Brought Positive Changes In Nandha'a Life
July 15, 2018, the world got ready for the greatest show on earth- The World Cup football final. The Soccer fever had long gripped the entire nation including a community from Chennai-Vysarpadi. Posters of Ronaldo and Messi draped the largest slum in Chennai but this time with a difference. A local star Nandha Kumar posed tirelessly in front of those posters which featured him alongside the international football giants. Nandha who has emerged from the by-lanes of Vysarpadi is a living example whose life changed over a soccer field.
For Nandha Kumar life didn’t take the easy way out. Still, a child, an unpolished gem, Nandha was surviving over one meal when his father, an autorickshaw driver stopped working owing to health issues. At 7 years he was vulnerable to drop out from school due to the decadence of family circumstances. At this junction, Vysarpdi Children’s Empowerment Project intervened and introduced soccer into his life.
Two years later, just at the age of 9, Nandha Kumar left his first mark as a special talent. He took part in an under-10 tournament organized by the Chennai Football Association (CFA) in Vyasarpadi and scored maximum goals for Vysarpdi Children’s Empowerment Project, earlier known as Slum Children Sports Talents Education Development Society paving the way for their win.
Post that, there was no stopping. Nandha Kumar not only played various prestigious tournaments but also completed his B.Com at Hindustan University, Chennai with a full scholarship while playing for the Hindustan Eagles.
It was just a matter of time before all-time greats like Ronaldinho during his stint with Premier Futsal took a note of him and complimented him on his talent. Soon Nandha found himself donning the jersey of Delhi Dynamos where he did exceedingly well. Owing to his outstanding performances, he was directly selected to represent the Indian team in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under-23 Championship in Doha and Singapore in 2017.
Today, one of the shining stars of Indian football, Nandha has received accolades and appreciation from all quarters. He was also presented with the emerging player of the year award in the last edition of the Indian Super League.
Goodwill is contagious and this wave of change today has dribbled its way into the community. The tournament has not only given chance to children from the marginalized sector to get motivated but to continue education alongside sports.
Realizing the potential of soccer, Child Rights and You (CRY) one of the leading NGOs in association with the Vysarpdi Children’s Empowerment Project has been organizing a tournament called Soccer for Child Rights. This year’s event, AON-Soccer for Child Rights will work towards providing children with uninterrupted education and ensure a child’s right to childhood.
If Soccer can break boundaries, CRY aspires to create a foundation of it and give children of the nation their chance to childhood
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