"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I"m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."-Anonymous
It is the season of the Barclays Premier League. Have you ever pictured yourself, showing off your skills at Old Trafford or at the Allianz Arena before a league match? It’s every football players dream to be standing on the same ground, as the likes of Rooney, Giggs, Scholes, Ribery Muller, Lahm name it! Imagine your favourite player watching you show off your skills, before the kick off of an official game at the Barclays Premier League! Nah, it’s not farfetched, Aakash Dave at 14 is making sure he doesn’t let being a small town boy, keep him from having big dreams, and achieving them. The fast footed Indian footballer has been more than eager to tell us, how he made the most of every opportunity that came his way, and before long, he was at the center spot of the limelight and pitching with the stars.Training in Bayern Munich
Aakash had been playing football since the third grade. While representing his school in the Inter La Martiniere School tournament, his skills were noticed by Mr.Kalyan Chobey. Aakash was then given the opportunity to play for the under 19 team at the Mohun Bagan club. Having proved his skills here as well, he was among the few who were chosen to go to Dakshineshwar where the selection for the training at Bayern Munich was held. Aakash was up against 600 boys of all age groups, out of which he was one of the 28 chosen for the all India trials. “I didn’t really think I would make it. The guys from Shillong were brilliant,” he says. He seemed to have underestimated himself yet again. Aakash had done brilliantly and was selected to train at Bayern Munich for one week where he and his fellow mates got to meet the players, and be trained by the club’s coaches. They also played a tournament, with boys from different countries. Observing the training techniques and skills had been a very enriching experience for Aakash. It has helped him evaluate himself and develop his skills.
A Shot at ManU
Having had this experience, and making it so far Aakash still hasn’t been very certain of his capabilities. Aakash continues to play for Mohun Bagan, though he has always been the nervous kid, easily intimidated by better competition, but what sets him apart is that he has never given way to it. Victory has only humbled him, and defeat has only ever left an earnest yearning for better. This year he had applied, and was selected for two week training program at the Manchester United Soccer School in Mumbai. The winners go on to train with coaches from the academy in England at the World Skills finals along with the opportunity to showcase their skills at Old Trafford before a game. There were 85 participants of all age groups that were selected for the All India Manchester United soccer skills finals. After having dribbled smoothly past several rounds of skill challenges, Aakash stood 2nd in the under 18 age group.He lost out to Amar Shah, during the accuracy challenge by 1 point. “I guess I was very nervous, and lost focus. At every level I was intimidated, there were boys from all over the world who were more experienced and more skilled than I was,” he shares. Like they say, it’s never over till the referee blows the whistle! Aaskash knows exactly why he lost out, he is also more aware of his strengths and weaknesses after this experience. He knows that he has time and skill, on his side and is all set to try again next year. Aakash did not let that momentary doubt he had in himself to cause a setback. If anything he knew he had made it far and he had tried and will continue to.
A champion is someone who doesn’t settle for that day’s practice, that day’s performance, that day’s competition. They are always striving to be better. The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when nobody else is watching!Inspired by the story of Aakash Dave? Also
Author credit: Anna Dias
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