Forgotten Stars of the U-17 World Cup

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The U-17 World Cup was a huge stepping stone for the future of football in India, and so were the expectations of the players who represented India in the competition. Many of these players are flourishing today, creating history whilst also becoming stars and idols for the next generation. But not every player from the squad has had an upward trajectory.

While most of them are competing at the highest levels and fighting hard to represent their country in the future, some have gone unnoticed. Here is a list of players who have gone under the radar.

5) Mohammad Shahjahan

Forgotten Stars of the U-17 World Cup WhatsApp Image 2021 04 14 at 18.27.08 1

Mohammad Shahjahan, the Round Glass Punjab FC central midfielder’s story of becoming a professional has been one full of struggles and uncertainties.

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The 20-year-old was born in Manipur, in the city of Imphal. Mohammad Shahjahan, the youngest in his family, first started playing football for the Youth Organisation Sporting Club (YOSC), where he was one of their best players. Despite having financial struggles of all sorts, and finding it almost impossible to make ends meet, his father Abdul Manaf, who himself wanted to become a professional footballer, did everything possible to realize his son’s dream. And even though Shahjahan did not seem to fit into Nicolai Adam’s plan, the coach of the Indian U-17 team before the World Cup, as Shahjahan was too short, Adam preferred strong players at the time and he was left out of the South Africa tour in 2016. But, Shahjahan did not give up and grabbed his opportunity to showcase his talent, when Round Glass Punjab FC offered him a chance to play for them. His performances for the Punjab side caught the eye of head coach Luis Norton de Matos, who gave Shahjahan the call-up to be part of the U-17 Indian team for the World Cup.

After the World Cup campaign with the U-17 National team, he joined the I-League 2nd division side Delhi United, for a season on loan, after which he returned to his Parent club Round Glass Punjab FC, currently playing for the Punjab based club along with others from the U-17 World Cup squad.

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