BHUBANESWAR: Decks are cleared for Odisha’s 11-year-old soccer prodigy Chandan Nayak’s dream journey to Germany and play for the most iconic club – Bayern Munich.
Bhubaneswar mayor Ananta Narayan Jena told this newspaper on Tuesday that all necessary documents, including his passport and visa, have been organised for his journey on Thursday.
Hailing from a poor family, the budding footballer who was deserted by his father at a very tender age, Chandan faced a lot of hurdles to obtain a passport as he did not have a birth certificate, a must-have document for the travel permit as a proof of age.
The mayor helped him obtain the certificate which enabled him to get a passport.
Born in Sabar Sahi slum in the city, Chandan was selected to train at Bayern Munich at an all-India competition at Pune recently.
“Chandan is a born footballer. I noticed him when he used to visit Kalinga Stadium along with his friends to watch the footballers undergoing training there. After the players returned their rooms following practice sessions in the evening, he used to pick up the ball from the ground and try some signature moves of legendary footballers such as Lionel Messi and Maradona. I was quite impressed by his skill and decided to groom him,” said Chandan’s coach Jayadev Mohapatra.
Chandan’s journey from Sabar Sahi slum to Bayern Munich, one of the most renowned European clubs, has been difficult. His mother Duhita Nayak, who lives in a polythene-clad shanty, works as a maid. Apart from Chandan’s poor economic background, his age also stood in the way.
“Children between 14 and 16 are allowed to train in Bayern Munich. However, Chandan’s spectacular performance in the selection camp at Pune impressed everyone, including Sunil Chhetri, the club’s head selector for India,” said the coach.
Chandan will get training at Bayern Munich for two months. “My dream is play for India one day. I thank my coach and my mother for their unstinted support to me,” said Chandan, who ideologies Lionel Messi as his inspiration.
Founded in 1902, the Bayern Munich Junior Team has produced some of Europe’s top footballers including Thomas Müller, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Holger Badstuber....