Top scorer Shaurya Singh draws joy from setting up goals too

New Delhi: Shaurya Singh is preparing for a career in law but when he dons his football gear, his focus on the task on hand is really sharp. It has led him to 14 goals and to set up nine goals for his team-mates in the inaugural season of the SSPF National Talent Search and Nurture football competition. Sitting at the top of the goal-scorers’ list.

HIghest Goal Scorer for NTSN season 1

The deft striker scored seven goals in five matches for Rukmani Birla Modern School and nine goals in three games for the Jaipur District team to emerge as a player to watch when the State sides come together to compete in the National level tournament in August. The 15-year-old, encouraged by his parents, has straddled school and sports with dexterity.

“I love Cristiano Ronaldo for his aggression. He has had his share of criticism but always he loves winning for his team,” says Shaurya Singh, pointing out how the Portugal skipper was egging his team-mates on despite having to go off the pitch just 24 minutes into the final of the European Championship final against host France.

jaipur 18
This is team work

He said the camp for the district team helped the players come together as one, despite hailing from different schools. “We had seen one another play and figured out one another’s strengths but the district camp enabled us get our co-ordination in place,” he said. “I think situations like these will prepare us for not only our football careers but also life beyond sport.”

In fact, Shaurya Singh says football has taught him a lot. “It has sharpened my mental skills and that has helped me with my studies as well,” he says. “It has enhanced my confidence and allows me find a good balance between sport and studies. I am so glad I get to play in such tournaments and am looking forward to the inter-State competition now.”

jaipur winner team
Shaurya Singh bought real ‘Shaurya’ to team

One of the things that he has clearly learnt well is to be able to score at opportune times and pass the ball to those placed in a better position to score “Our coaches, especially Gajanand Pillai sir have always taught us that football is a team game and that selfish play can ruin a team’s chances of winning matches as collective unit,” he says.

Vardaan Dutt epitomises beauty of team work on football field

New Delhi: Vardhaan Dutt, who is credited with the most assists in the inaugural football season of the SSPF’s National Talent Search and Nurture (NTSN) program and has made it to the list of India probables for the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup tournament next year, personifies team spirit on and off the football pitch.

SSPF football hero

With 11 assists in four games, Vardaan Dutt is a joint leader with school mate Namandeep Singh. The India aspirant has also scored six goals, showcasing his all round skills. His performances caught the eye of talent scouts, leading to his being among a select band of four from Jammu and Kashmir who were among the 200 chosen from North Zone for an assessment camp.

The KC Public School X class student, who will be 16 in September and seeks to make football his career, says his coaches Moon Stephen and Dil Bahadur instilled the idea of passing the ball to a team-mate in a better position. “There is so much joy in helping the team score goals and win,” he says, having embraced that philosophy very early in his nascent career.

Vardaan Dutt in action

Having started off on football merely as a hobby when he was 12, Vardaan Dutt was hooked on to the game when he trained with the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools center in his school. He has risen not only to captain the Jammu and Kashmir junior team but also be picked as a probable for the India under-17 team to play in the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in India next year.


A fan of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Vardaan Dutt says that playing football has taught him a great deal about life. “The skills I have learnt when playing the game will benefit me,” he says. “For example, when playing for Jammu District in the State competition, I had to team up with boys I played against in the district event – and even set up a goal for Tanshu Thakyal.”

With his parents backing his footballing dreams, it is a good guess that Vardaan Dutt will continue his passionate pursuit of the sport that he has come to love so much.

Osmanabad crowned Maharashtra State football champion


Standing (from left): Gadge Rashing, Shivraj Mane, Rangrej Jamal, Qazi Sufiyan, Bhosley Suraj, Sayyed Awez, Sheikh Alber, Sheikh Huzefa; Sitting: Sheikh Umar, Shing Gaurav, Kadam Rohan, Rangrez Abdulla.


NTSN seeds Khageshwar Tangulu’s football dreams

From kicking around a football, stuffed polythene in one bag actually, in a remote Odisha village to being picked to represent the State in the National Talent Search and Nurture football competition of the School Sports Promotion Foundation has been an exhilarating journey for 15-year-old Khageshwar Tangulu.

KHAGESHWAR , one of the most talented football players of MALKANGIRI district.

Wearing Jersey No. 7 – like his idol, Argentina star Lionel Messi – Khageshwar has excelled as an attacking midfielder for Ekalavya Modern Residential School, Malkangiri. The 15-year-old scored five goals and engineered two assists in helping his team emerge champion of the district in the NTSN tournament.

Look at his style of play. Isn’t he the YOUNG MESSI?

There was no electricity, let alone cable and satellite TV in the Badapada village in Kudumulagamma block where Khageshwar grew up. It did not matter that he grew up in a village with less than 1000 people in 154 households. Yet, there was no shortage of passion for football. A 65km shift to the district headquarters has helped him pursue football more intensely.


He now wants to make his mother, who collects firewood and other forest produce in the Khairput Forest Range to make ends meet, and his school proud by expressing himself on the football field. “I know I can do well because I know I am the best in the teams I play for,” he says. “I know I can make my mother proud by playing good football.”

The Tenth Standard student is hungry to showcase his skills at the national level, too. “I am looking forward to representing Odisha in the National tournament,” he says, revealing that the farther he has traveled from Malkangiri is to the State Capital, Bhubaneshwar for a cricket trial. “I was not selected but now I will travel beyond Odisha. I really want to play the best I can.”

And, by all accounts, the entire Malkangiri district is excited about this lad’s progress. Social worker Sankar Khiti, who doubles up as NTSN District Coordinator, believes Khageshwar’s success will encourage many other tribal boys in the district to take up education and balance their dreams in a backward district severely affected by Naxalite presence.

The Malkangiri School’s Principal Umesh Chandra Mohapatra and Physical Education Teacher, Prakash Kumar Patel, have played no mean role in encouraging Khageshwar play football. “He is a natural talent. When he is not in class, he loves to be kicking a football around all the time. The good thing is that he thinks of his team and is a leader on the pitch,” says Patel.

West Champaran claims Bihar State Football title


From Left To Right Top Row

Rakesh, Yash Sharma, Ajit, Prashanth, Praveen, Mithlesh

From Left To Right Middle Row

Akshay, Suraj

From Left To Right Bottom Row

Pankaj, Sonu, Neeraj, Shubham, Gaurav, Sonu Patel, Om Prakash

A fulfilling and humbling journey indeed

opJust two words spring to mind when I think of the journey of the National Talent Search and Nurture (NTSN) programme: Fulfilling and exciting.
With the end of the first season in sight, we are able to joyously look at the progress of cricket and football under the aegis of the School Sports Promotion Foundation in partnership with the Sports Authority of India. Around this time last year, we were still discussing NTSN’s concept and its structure.
Such a project has not been attempted, let alone achieved, before in our vast country. With close to 2000 school teams registering in our inaugural year, the enthusiasm across the nation has been palpable. We believe the foundation for a high-quality programme has been well and truly laid and that we are poised to make a difference.
Having said that, we have drawn lessons from the journey so far. We have realised that we need a more vibrant organisation on-ground to make the players believe that they are part of a beautiful programme. To achieve this, we have secured the help of a number of similar-thinking sports organisations as we move towards NTSN’s second season when we will add basketball, volleyball and kabaddi to our calendar. The stage is set for several thousands of schools to become part of the exciting journey to make India a more sports-conscious nation.
I would like to thank the thousands of boys who have become path-breakers by competing in the first season of NTSN, their Schools which have provided them the opportunity to pursue their sporting dreams. The Chairpersons of SSPF Cricket and Football Councils, former India players Chetan Sharma and Sq Ldr SS Hakeem, have offered visionary support and leadership.
Together with Team SSPF in Delhi, they have been able to secure the unstinted services of State and District Co-ordinators to ensure that NTSN has already captured the imagination of schoolboys across the country. It only makes us determined to renew our vigour as we prepare for the climax of the first season and the launch of the enlarged second season.
Yes, it has been a fulfilling, exciting and humbling experience.
I am particularly excited that we are finalising our plans to set up a Centre of Excellence for each of the five sports disciplines that are part of our calendar. It would be wonderful to be able to have these sets of talented boys come together as one and hone their skills under expert coaches and trainers in an atmosphere that encourages both academic and sporting pursuits.

Jaipur wears Rajasthan State football crown

jaipur winner team

Standing (from left): Rajendra Bhati (Referee), Amol, Fozan, Ajit singh, Ishan, Nishchal, Rishab, Bhrigupal, Shaurya Singh, Apoorva, Radhakrishan (coordinator) and Rajendra Prashad (Referee). Sitting: Madhav, Sikandra, Kinshu, Sherayansh, Amit, Gravit Laddha.