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MP: A football coach is changing lives of young slum dwellers, school dropouts

Surendra Sharma, 21, gives football coaching to 50 children from underprivileged families of Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh. The young players have participated in championships like IBER Cup in Spain, I-League to Subroto Cup

india Updated: Sep 02, 2017 23:39 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
I-League,Subroto Cup,Foorball coach
Football coach Surendra Sharma with the kids.(HT hoto)

Lokesh Taiyda, 12, and his friends from a slum in sleepy Burhanpur district had stopped going to school a few years ago. They goofed around in their locality chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes.

But all this changed when 21-year-old football coach Surendra Sharma came into their lives. He motivated them to do something constructive with their lives. He moulded them into a champion team to become a pride of the city in a span of two years.

Not only the slum kids, but football has been a game changer for at least 50 children from underprivileged families of Burhanpur, a small district on the MP-Maharashtra border.

From IBER Cup in Spain, I-League to Subroto Cup, the players from this small town are proving their mettle at various football championships. They have also started going to school again.

For coach Sharma, the fight was not very easy. He lost his parents when he was only three years old.

He was brought up by his uncle. Though his uncle wanted him to become a government officer to secure his future, he fell in love with football. He fought with his relatives to live his dream. He came to Goa and started working as a security guard in a resort. Here he met former Indian striker Abhishek Yadav who helped him in training. After that he returned to Burhanpur and formed a club ”Gem Stone Football Club”.

“The major challenge was to form a team. On seeing the slum kids, I thought of giving their lives a direction.”

“Initially, the parents of the kids, especially girls, were a little iffy. But gradually they were convinced,” said Sharma.

Kamini Mahajan, a player and daughter of a labourer, said, “Football has changed my life. Now I am studying in a government school and will soon participate in Subroto Cup 2017.” Two more girls will also accompany her.

Last year in December, the club finished second in Football School of India Championship held in Mumbai.

First Published: Sep 02, 2017 23:31 IST