Lijo and Shyjin make giant leap

Chennai: Two 19-year old boys from Kanyakumari, Lijo Francis and Shyjin, whose dream is to play top-flight football is soon going to become a reality as they will be travelling to Madrid to train under coaches at AD Alcorcon, a Spanish second division club.

The duo was selected from Tamilnadu through the two day Chennai leg of the football trials ’19, that was organised by AD Alcorcon, in association with Football +, an academy based in the city, which concluded at Nehru Park, here last week.

The trials were conducted in five states – Kerala, Karnataka, Telengana, Maharashtra and Tamilnadu and two players from each state (both boys and girls across 8 to 20 years of age) were selected and all of them will be travelling to Spain in May for a month to get the training and if they can impress the coaches during that period, their stay will also be extended to help them get better opportunities.

Hailing from Eraviputhenthurai, a fishing hamlet in Kanyakumari, which is also the hometown of Michael Soosairaj, who has had a dream run so far in ISL, playing for Jamshedpur FC, the two boys were selected out of hundreds of participants who attended the trials.

Speaking to News Today, they said, “We are from the fisherman community and football is our favour sport. Right from the age of five we are playing the sport on the beach, through one of our friends we came to know about the trials and gave it a try. Feeling really happy to get selected and can’t wait to go to Spain.”

According to Shyjin, there are many local football communities in their village but there are no proper coaches to train and the aspiring footballers had to learn all by themselves. “Internet is our best teacher, we used to watch YouTube videos to know about different training methods and train accordingly.”

However, they have Michael Soosairaj and his brother Michael Regin, who is playing for Chennai City FC to look up to for inspiration. “They always help us a lot. We have played a lot of local matches with them. Despite their busy schedule they always give us inputs that help us develop,” said Lijo.

With a dream to play for Chennai City FC in future, the duo aims to make the most of their opportunity in Spain and are confident of embarking new journey in top-flight football.

Aaditya Anand M