The common notion in India is every child who wants to pursue a footballing career, dreams of playing football at the highest level.
12-year-old Nangki Warshong and 11-year-old Kevin Teiri Warbah are keen followers of Indian football and the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), in particular.
Nangki is a student of Basic Memorial School in Meghalaya’s capital city, Shillong whereas Kevin studies at the St. Anthony’s Higher Secondary School, Shillong. Kevin’s favourite footballer is local Shillong lad Redeem Tlang, who plies his trade for NorthEast United FC. Nangki, on the other hand, loves the brilliance of Indian national team skipper and Bengaluru FC talisman Sunil Chhetri.
But Nangki and Kevin are not ordinary children. They watch football not only for the glitz and glamour of the players on the pitch, but also for the tactical side of football which comes out from the dugout.
The Nangki-Kevin duo are seen dressed up in track suits, like a professional football manager. One is bound to wonder what these ‘gentlemen’ are doing in the Girls League matches of the Hero ISL Children’s League in Shillong.
They have a knack for coaching and that is translated onto the Hero ISL Children’s League landscape. The duo are coaching Nongkrem FC in the Girls League of the Shillong edition of the Hero ISL Children’s League. As extraordinary as it may sound, the duo gives instructions to the girls from the touchline, runs around ardently in a Jurgen Klopp-esque manner and are as passionate as the players on the field of play.
Be it a hobby, or a passion. The Hero ISL Children’s League has given Nangki and Kevin a platform to showcase their managerial skills.
Nangki and Kevin are not the ones who take the commonly taken path. They are exploring the option of travelling by the road which is seldom taken. Who knows one day the pair could follow in the footsteps of one of the coaching stalwarts from the North East of India, Thangboi Singto. The pathway of the current Odisha FC assistant coach and former Shillong Lajong head coach can be an inspiration for these children, if they carry on their unique passion for football.
The lights might always be on the footballers, but Nangki and Kevin have a completely different appetite for football. An appetite which could soon see the spotlight on this Shillong duo.