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Tendulkar motivates tribal footballers for UNICEF

November 18, 2022 22:21 IST

Sachin Tendulkar playing football at a UNICEF event

IMAGE: Sachin Tendulkar plays a game of friendly football with children for UNICEF at Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium. Photograph: UNICEF

One has experienced extreme poverty while the other needs the help of his parents to express himself.

As Sachin Tendulkar came to shake her hands, an emotional Golapi Baske, in a split second, could visualise all her struggles as a tribal girl, who wanted to play football and end her widowed mother's miseries.

Hailing from the remote village of Pakbirra in Purulia, West Bengal, Golapi was brought up by her mother, who took up the job as a construction labourer but that wasn't enough to make both ends meet.

But, because of her prowess in football and a gutsy coach in Dayamoy Mahato, Golapi was among the dozen boys and girls, who were all part of UNICEF's project to celebrate World Children's Day. They had a chance to play an exhibition football match in the presence of legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.


"I have been congratulated many times for scoring goals but I could never imagine that I will shake hands with the biggest cricket star,” Goalpi said, beaming with excitement after getting a prized selfie with Tendulkar.

"While playing for Purulia district team and taking part in inter-district football tournaments in Bengal, I never thought of this moment. My mother and two elder sisters' support for continuing football training seemed fruitful today,” she said.

Describing it as a milestone moment for her, Mahato, coach at Pakbirra Football Academy, who was also present at the event said that it would motivate the other girls at his coaching centre to perform better.

“All of us who came forward to donate money, land, paddy and rice to make a ground for the girls to practise would be enthused today," he said. If Golapi's story is painful, the story of Krishan Makhal is even more gut-wrenching.

Krishan is speech and hearing impaired but plays football for a local club in his Magurkhali village in Habra sub-division in West Bengal and plays in tournaments for able-bodied players held across the South 24 Parganas district.

A student of class eight at Jhajhra High School, Krishan's father is a daily wage earner and his mother sells vegetables.

In fact, during his formative years, Krishan used to be left out because of his hearing impairment but later his talent and quality prevailed as he was a part of the exhibition match between Ayushman Khurana XI and Sachin Tendulkar XI.

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