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04 Oct 2017

U-17 football squad: Md Shahjahan, India's midfield talent

The U-17 football squad's skillful midfielder, Mohammad Shahjahan

Yet another player from Manipur, Mohammad Shahjahan, is an advanced midfield player, who has been picked to play in the 21-member Indian squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

The youngster's journey from Imphal to the national squad was not an easy one.

Read on to find out more about this dynamic talent who almost quit playing football at one point in his life.

In context

The U-17 football squad's skillful midfielder, Mohammad Shahjahan
Support from parents and siblings

Early years

Support from parents and siblings

Mohammad Shahjahan was born in Imphal, Manipur and is the youngest of his seven siblings.

Shahjahan's passion for the game convinced his father who works as a tailor, to buy his first pair of football shoes.

His eldest brother believed in his ability and enrolled the 9-year-old Shahjahan at Youth Organisation Sporting Club, a grassroots academy. Thus began his journey.

Development

Academy to State level

Shahjahan was a regular at the podium in age-group football. At academy level, he won the best player award in U-13 and U-14 competitions.

He rose to district and state level in no time. His performances led to trial at West Bengal's Kalyani Academy where he was chosen to play for U-12 side.

Thereon, he was selected to train at AIFF Elite Academy, Goa.

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Football idols

Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri, and Cristiano Ronaldo are Shahjahan's favorite players and he is a follower of Real Madrid FC.

Second chances

Minerva Punjab

Second chances

Dropped from the AIFF Elite Academy in 2015, under the messy regime of former coach Nicolai Adam, Shahjahan considered quitting football all together.

He got a lifeline in 2016, when he was picked up by Minerva Punjab FC.

As luck would have it, Shahjahan's performances here led to him being drafted into the current squad by coach Luis Norton de Matos.

Other Minerva players in U-17 squad

Three other Shahjahan's fellow players from Minerva, who were chosen to play in the current U-17 squad include Jackson Singh, Anwar Ali, and Nongdamba Naorem.

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