As an youngster — he’s still only 12 — Campion School student Porus Shroff had told his father Firdaus that since the Sr Shroff had played club cricket in England, he should end up playing his favourite sport, football, in England, as well. That was before it struck the pre-teen that playing football in the world’s most popular league isn’t that easy. Reality kicked in early this year, when as part of Maharashtra’s colts squad, Porus took part in the AIFF U-13 Football Festival in Jamshedpur that had, among other things, a skills competition. And after coming second in India in one of the skills — control and shoot the ball — the boy is back to aspiring bigger goals in life.
Playing centre-half for his school and the state squad, Porus helped Maharshtra claim the trophy, finishing second in his test that required him to impress in the two-touch manouvere — trap, turn around and shoot. A badminton player to start with — since his father had said success in team games hinged on too many variables — Porus continued to train for football in school, training individually at Khushnuma Parsee Colony, Colaba. Besides giving the scouts a chance to take a good look at the young talent available in the country, the skills competition had also impressed upon the participants the importance of basics in football.
Training with the city’s Kenkre Academy juniors, Porus is part of the new crop of Indian football youngsters. They follow the I League — Porus watched the Air India-Mohemeddan Sporting match live and got a measure of the pace, also noted how Indians adjusted their game, playing more aerial, to make up for the below-par field conditions. And, they are more likely to supplement their adoration for Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal with the admiration for Dempo’s Brazilian midfielder Beto, playing in India’s strictly modest environs.
“Facilities and finance are problems when encouraging kids to take up football seriously,” says Firdaus, “plus we start late, while kids abroad start at three-four years. There’s also the Indian physique, so we’ll have to work hard to get anywhere.” Mother Gulshan says the boy needs to prove his seriousness about the sport. “He needs to work hard and show us he’s dedicated.”
Sister Kyra Shroff, one of India’s more promising juniors in tennis, also helps out with tips on fitness. “She helps in matters like how to build stamina and not injure yourself,” Porus says, stressing that he needs to work hard on his stamina and strength.
Original article here.