California
clear sky
34.3 ° C
35.9 °
32.6 °
55 %
4.1kmh
0 %
Mon
36 °
Tue
38 °
Wed
36 °
Thu
28 °
Fri
28 °
California
clear sky
34.3 ° C
35.9 °
32.6 °
55 %
4.1kmh
0 %
Mon
36 °
Tue
38 °
Wed
36 °
Thu
28 °
Fri
28 °
Monday, July 15, 2024

We Scoured The Internet...

We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product...

Best Chili Cheese Dog...

* This post is sponsored by Rio Luna Organic Peppers. The information and...

25 Fruits that Start...

Are you trying to find out the list of fruits that start...

I Tried a New...

I’m always up to try something new. There’s so much beauty in...
HomeLifestyleVyasarpadi’s very own...

Vyasarpadi’s very own Messi: How footballer Nandhakumar made it to the top


S Nandhakumar has been playing from the time he was ten years old
| Photo Credit: Jothi Ramalingam B

S Nandhakumar woke up to the sight of boys and girls playing football at Kalyanapuram ground in Vyasarpadi every day. He saw them on his way to school, and on his way back.

“My father, who was then an auto driver, took me to the ground one morning,” says the 27-year-old, who just returned to Chennai after winning the Intercontinental Cup as part of the Indian team. He was the only player from Tamil Nadu at the tournament held at Bhubaneswar last month among India, Lebanon, Vanuatu, and Mongolia.

The Slum Children Sports Talent and Education Development Society’s team (SCSTEDS) practised at the Kalyanapuram ground every day, led by coaches N Umapathy, who used to be the goalkeeper for the Tamil Nadu team, and N Thangaraj. They took the 10-year-old into their fold. “Every kid in Vyasarpadi was playing football then,” says Nandhakumar, adding that they still do. He remembers nothing extraordinary about his game as a school boy, when he played for the SCSTEDS’ club regularly.

He first played for SCSTEDS

He first played for SCSTEDS
| Photo Credit:
Jothi Ramalingam B

It was only once he finished Class X and got into Wesley Higher Secondary School in Royapettah, through the sports quota, did he understand what football could do for him. “I went to a Corporation School in Vyasarpadi. I got into Wesley only because of my game,” he says.

From then on, football steered Nadhakumar’s life. He played at the Chennai League matches regularly and in 2010, when he was 15, he travelled to Sweden for the first time to play for SCSTEDS at the Gothia Cup, considered the world’s largest international youth football tournament.

In 2010, when he was 15, he travelled to Sweden for the first time to play for SCSTEDS at the Gothia Cup

In 2010, when he was 15, he travelled to Sweden for the first time to play for SCSTEDS at the Gothia Cup
| Photo Credit:
Jothi Ramalingam B

Chennai City FC’s S Nandhakumar (yellow) reacts as Aizawl FC’s Lalruatthara (39) holds the ball from him during their Federation Cup 2017 football match at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on May 07, 2017.

Chennai City FC’s S Nandhakumar (yellow) reacts as Aizawl FC’s Lalruatthara (39) holds the ball from him during their Federation Cup 2017 football match at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on May 07, 2017.
| Photo Credit:
Biswaranjan Rout

“This was also my first time on a flight,” says Nandhakumar, adding with a laugh: “I remember feeling numb; I got very sick on it.” His team did not win, but they beat Sweden, the host team. “This boosted our confidence,” he says. This tournament was also when he got to interact with and observe players from international teams.

Nandhakumar eventually got into Hindustan University thanks to his talent being spotted by coaches there, and went on to play for the university’s team. He also made it to the I-League for Chennai City FC and participated in the Santosh Trophy and Premier Futsal in 2017. “The years 2017 to 2018 were a rollercoaster ride,” he says, adding that he played several life-changing matches, eventually getting promoted to the Indian Super League and playing for Delhi Dynamos. It rained goals for Nandhakumar then, and he scored 11 goals in Durand Cup, ISL matches and Super Cup combined from 2022 to 2023.

Meanwhile, back home in Vyasarpadi, Nandha ‘anna’ became the topic of discussion among young boys and girls. “Kids who admired Ronaldo and Messi, started following him since they could better connect with someone from their locality,” says coach Thangaraj of SCSTEDS: “They emulated his playing style; the way he carries the ball, shakes and cuts it.”

Nandhakumar contributed to changing the prejudice surrounding Vyasarpadi. “The moment we mention we are from the neighbourhood, people assume we are rowdies,” he says. He ensured he was the face of a new Vyasarpadi, one in which boys and girls walked with their heads held high and led disciplined lives. “My game automatically had a positive effect on my lifestyle,” he adds.

Now, there is a huge following in Vyasarpadi for ‘Nandha’, as he is popularly known. Young boys follow his dressing style, not to mention the way he does his hair. T Akash, a 16-year-old footballer brushes his hair upwards to create a puff, like his hero.

This is the first time Nandhakumar played for the senior National team. “I had goosebumps when I put on the team India jersey,” he says. “It is a feeling I cannot describe in words.” His is an extraordinary journey that began at a football ground in a neglected North Chennai locality. Being a mentor keeps him going, he states: “I have to ensure my game continues to be top notch. I have more responsibility on my shoulders now.”

Get notified whenever we post something new!

webiitech

Want to grow your business???

Mark your presence on Internet with WEB-II-TECH

Continue reading

We Scoured The Internet And Found The 10 Coziest Reading Chairs

We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. One of life’s simplest pleasures has to be curling up with a good book. Getting into your coziest loungewear, brewing a...

Best Chili Cheese Dog Egg Rolls Recipe

* This post is sponsored by Rio Luna Organic Peppers. The information and content presented here is all ours.   If you’re looking for a unique and absolutely delicious appetizer for your next tailgating or Big Game Day party, these Chili...

25 Fruits that Start with S: List with Nutritional Values

Are you trying to find out the list of fruits that start with S? It could be for any reason, for a school project or you are a fruit enthusiast & want to explore new fruits. You have...

Enjoy exclusive access to all of our content

Get an online subscription and you can unlock any article you come across.

%d bloggers like this: