From Gully football to the UK: Journey of OSCAR Foundation's U-17 squad

An U-17 football team from Mumbai slums will leave for UK on 31st September. Previously, the first OSCAR UK tour had been organised in 2017

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"All work and no play makes Jack, a dull boy", the phrase surely does indicate the importance of sports in an individual's life. The presence of sports in one's life can be a key factor towards their development and for the same reason, OSCAR Foundation has been pushing children from Mumbai slums to take up football as a sport and perhaps have even ignited the will in them to turn it into a career option.

"Earlier, I used to play gully football on the streets near my home. But then Rupesh Sir saw me and trained me. After that, I began playing professional football. What started as a hobby has now become my passion. I want to become a footballer but if it doesn't work, I have decided to be a bartender," says 16-year-old, Rohit Mandal who lives in Colaba. Rohit has been included in the squad for the OSCAR UK Tour 2019.

Around 14 children from Mumbai slums will be travelling to the UK under the auspices of OSCAR Foundation as an U-17 team in October 2019. 

Meanwhile, Rohit says that had it not been football and the Foundation, he would have disappeared as an individual instead of becoming a better person. However, along with Rohit, there are several other teenagers who saw football as a a saviour and OSCAR Foundation has perfectly managed to become a matchmaker for these children.

OSCAR Foundation's idea is to allow the children to grow academically as they play football. So, they have smartly drawn the kids to make football their addiction and later, they imposed the rule which also happens to be their motto, i.e. "No School, No Football".

In the meantime, the players seem to be excited. Meet Yelkar from Tardeo says that he is looking forward to going to the UK. Interestingly Meet will be travelling in an aeroplane for the first time.

As the 14-strong squad prepares to fly to the UK, one thing is for sure, the kids will be coming back stronger, better and it will be a huge boost to their confidence.

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