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Sajad Hussain: Dark alleys and narrow streets to play for Indian Arrows

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The Indian Arrows left-back is ready to climb any height to shine like his idol Roberto Carlos…

Sajad Hussain Parray is from Gund Hassi Bhat, a hamlet on the outskirts of Srinagar. Although Kashmir has produced quite a few footballers and coaches over the decades, it has remained one of the state’s football blind spots.

Therefore, when Sajad appeared for the Sports Council Football Academy tryouts in Srinagar, Sajid Dar was pleasantly surprised.

“This place has not produced any footballer so far. In fact, there hasn’t been a real football culture in this area, ”said Dar, the academy’s honorary technical director of the Sports Council. Goal.

It was in the streets of Gund Hassi Bhat that Sajad had his first date with football with his two brothers Ajaz and Adil Hussain. When the Sports Council started organizing trials for “Mission 22”, Sajad wanted to try his luck.

“When he was selected in practice, we asked him about his preferred position. He quickly responded to the left-back. It is not common for a child to be so sure of his exact position, but he was. And you don’t stay on the left- So He got us excited, ”Dar revealed.

He started out as a U15 caddy but quickly began to outperform his peers. Mehrajuddin Wadoo, the academy in charge, decided to promote him to U18. But apart from his qualities with the ball, what impressed Wadoo was the child’s determination and sincerity.

“As he lives far from Srinagar, nearly 10-12 km, he has to travel a lot. But I never remember that he was late for a session. He didn’t miss one either. He’s so punctual, ”said the former Indian. international praise on the youngster.

As Dar took a step forward and said, “After Mehraj, he’s the most devoted boy I’ve seen. He wasn’t that good technically when he joined the academy. But with hard work, he covered a lot of ground. ”

Sajad is a natural left footer and to push his limits, Wadoo, who was himself a defender, also deployed him as a left central defender.

“Since he knew what he wanted to do, we played him as a defender throughout. But sometimes he also played as a central defender. He is a very good player of the game. He does not go into unnecessary tackles and stays firmly in individual situations. ”

When the AIFF (All India Football Federation) held trials in Srinagar, Sajad was selected for the Indian U-15 junior national team in 2018, then he traveled to Bhubaneswar to join the Arrows squad.

In the current I-League, he started four of the five games played by Arrows Ave and made his left-back position his own. In fact, it was thanks to his header in added time against Aizawl that the boys of Shanmugam Venkatesh got their first point of the campaign.

“Yeh kuch karega agey jaake (He will do something ahead in life). He has this hunger in him ”, feels Wadoo.

Sajad played at the U15 SAFF Championship in Nepal and also visited United Arab Emirates, South Africa as part of the exhibition trips organized by AIFF. He idolizes Roberto Carlos and wants to imitate the Brazilian legend. He chose the ideal footprints to follow and even started his professional career on a bright note.

But there’s a million miles between the cup and the lip, and it remains to be seen if he can maintain his persistence to shine at bigger stages.