Good Sports: BUDDING SOCCER STAR
India hasn’t produced any big names in soccer, but Baichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri have starred on the national team and played briefly for professional teams in the UK and US, respectively. Eighteen-year-old Lallianzuala Chhangte of Mizoram seems poised to follow in their footsteps and perhaps go further.
A top scorer in the under-19 I-League, Chhangte recently made his debut for the national team and scored two goals in a 4-1 victory over Nepal in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) championship, a seven-nation tourney that India hosted.
Chhetri scored three goals in four games, leading India to the SAFF trophy, but it was Chhangte’s performance—and the prospect of finding more players like him—that bodes well for the country’s soccer future.
“There are talents like Lallianzuala all over the country,” national coach Stephen Constantine told The Hindu. “You just need to look at them.”
Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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