Striker Rajib Roy of Kolkata has been chosen to train with Manchester United

Posted on Apr 20 2014 - 4:14pm by IBC News Bureau

A teenager who plays football barefoot on the back streets of Kolkata has been chosen to train with Manchester United.

Striker Rajib Roy, aged 16, could become a real-life Slumdog Millionaire after being spotted by United scouts at a tournament for India’s best youngsters.

Rajib is the son of a sex worker and lives in a tiny single room with mum Rekha and his younger brother in the biggest red light area in Asia.

He is among 11 youngsters from India at Old Trafford this weekend who will spend 15 days training with United’s coaches. Most of the other boys are from well-off families but Rajib lives in the Sonagachi suburb which is home to 12,000 sex workers. Rajib said: “People keep asking me how it feels to be my mother’s son and then achieve something like this. I don’t know how to answer that question.

“But when my coach told me I had been selected by Manchester United it was like a father’s recognition. My mother is a very shy person. She would lock me in my room after lunch so that I could take a nap, but I would quietly sneak out to play with my friends.

“Last month I was selected along with 30 others to participate in a camp in Goa through a nationwide school championship competition. I arrived late because I took a train from Kolkata. Everybody else took a flight.

“There were children from rich families who spoke English but I made friends quickly. There was a boy from Mumbai who spoke very good English and translated for me when I interacted with the coaches.

“He told me that it was perfectly fine if I was not able to communicate in English — a lot of Spanish footballers don’t speak English either.”

Rajib’s life changed two years ago when his mum sent him to the local Rahul Vidya Niketan school for the children of sex workers.

Also selected to make the trip to Manchester — which will include a tour of Old Trafford — is Rajib’s friend Arko Dey. His mum ekes a living selling potato and flour snacks from a street stall in Kolkata.

Like Rajib, he has no father and lives in a small rented house with his mother and 11-year-old sister where they are under constant threat of eviction. Arko,17, said: “My mother wept. We live in abject poverty. She knows nothing about Manchester United.”

About the Author
IBC News Bureau

Leave A Response