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The Hero ISL Children’s League in the Clive House zone recently drew to a conclusion. Many young footballers have been impressive throughout the tournament. However, the name on everyone’s lips in Clive House is Nimta Ramkrishna Sporting Club’s Akash Podder.

Akash Podder is a budding talent from Kolkata, who is taking part in the Under-12 category of the Clive House zone in the Hero ISL Children’s League. Akash wears the armband for Nimta Ramkrishna Sporting Club and has managed to attract several eyeballs, owing to his stellar performances. His never-say-die attitude and ability to strike the ball cleanly with both feet has enabled him to score 14 goals in 15 matches. This is quite an extraordinary achievement, given that he plays as a midfielder. 

But a closer look at his personal life reveals why he deserves all the attention. Akash’s father had passed away when he was one-and-a-half years old. Akash had to face many hardships from a very young age, however, football was his only source of happiness. His love for the game prompted him to play with the elder boys in his locality.

In 2018, Mahadev Chakraborty came as a blessing in disguise in Akash’s life. Mahadev, the Secretary of Nimta Ramkrishna Sporting Club, had spotted him in a trial and immediately recognized his talent. Akash’s life would never be the same again.

After having discussions with Akash’s mother, Mahadev took all the responsibility of taking care of Akash in his own house. Since then, he is the sole guardian of this wonder boy who has taken aback everyone since he started playing football in the local tournaments. It is much more than a relationship between a master and his apprentice.

The relationship between Akash and Mahadev is akin to George Weah and Arsene Wenger. Weah was a raw African talent from Liberia and was first spotted by Wenger when he was the manager of AS Monaco. Wenger signed Weah for Monaco and took care of him as a father would do for his son. Wenger’s footballing inputs and affection, helped Weah become one of the fearsome forwards in world football.

Mahadev has played a crucial role in shaping the life of Akash. In 2019, he got selected in the Sports Authority of India (SAI) trials. However, his progression was derailed due to unfortunate circumstances. He went on to impress in the ‘United We Play’ programme, a venture by Apollo Tyres and supported by Manchester United.

The Hero ISL Children’s League provided Akash Podder, a platform to hone his footballing skills and test himself in a competitive football environment. It was a test for Akash, and he has managed to pass it with flying colours.