Children participating in the Hero ISL Children’s League in West Bengal can garner inspiration from the footballing journey of Prabir Das. He is one of their very own and is a vital cog in ATK’s wheel in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL).

There’s no looking back for Sodepur-born Prabir Das, ever since he starred for ATK in the Hero ISL 2016 season.

Playing with the likes of seasoned professionals like Roy Krishna, Agus Garcia, Edu Garcia, and David Williams has taken his game to another level. The inputs of ATK’s Spanish head coach Antonio Lopez Habas has been valuable in grooming him into one of the country’s most talented footballers.

Das began his career with Pailan Arrows, which has been rechristened as Indian Arrows, in 2012. In his initial days, he was deployed as a striker but later on moved to his current right-back position. For the Arrows, he scored two goals against Shillong Lajong, first hitting the mark in the Federation Cup and then repeating the trick in the I-League.

He was on the books of Mohun Bagan and Dempo, in addition to being on the fringes at FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos. Das finally settled in at ATK and played an instrumental role in ATK lifting the 2016 Hero ISL title. In the 2017-18 season, he made 14 appearances in a fruitless season for ATK. A serious knee injury in pre-season led to Das missing the entirety of the 2018-19 season.

This season the 26-year-old is back, stronger than before. Time after time, Das has been tearing apart the left side of the opposition defence, producing one stellar performance after another.

Das has not just been winning hearts for his on-field performances, but also his gestures off the field. He came to the aid of 7-year-old Abhijit Guha from Belur, West Bengal, who had been diagnosed with acute pneumonia which, in turn, had led to multiple organ failure. Abhijit’s family had pleaded for help through a social media post and Das immediately reached out to the child’s family.

Incidentally, Das had himself suffered from health issues in the past. The speedy wing-back had collapsed on the pitch due to heatstroke in a match against Prayag United (now United Sports Club) in 2013. He had breathing problems and was immediately stretchered off to the nearby hospital.

Speaking about the incident of lending out his helping hand to the child, Das told, “As a human being, you feel proud when you stand by people in need. When I read about him on social media, I spoke to my mother about this and she also wanted me to help them out in whatever way I could. Not everyone is in a position to help others even if they want to. Fortunately, I am in a position where I could help out. Both my family and I are really happy that I was able to do this.”

He concluded by saying, “If more and more people connected with football come forward in such cases, many problems might be solved.”

The entire football fraternity lauded his efforts as he laid down a marker to his fellow Indian professionals.

Prabir Das has not only become a star player for ATK in recent seasons but his footballing journey has become a sort of inspiration for children in West Bengal. And it is not just about Das’ exploits on the field, but his humanitarian efforts haven’t gone unnoticed either. It is only a matter of time before the 26-year-old right-back receives a call up from the national team coach.