India is a country more known for its exploits in cricket thanks to 1983 and 2011 World Cup wins under the leadership of Kapil Dev and MS Dhoni respectively. Even in 2007, Dhoni led a young brigade to lift the inaugural T20 World Cup and that paved the way for the Indian Premier League (IPL) to arrive and become the best league in the world. But when it comes to other sports, especially football, the fan following is only in a certain parts of the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his recent speech at the BJP Headquarters in Delhi, spoke about a village being a ‘Mini Brazil’ of the country. Yes, one of the villages in Madhya Pradesh is known to generate excellent football players and not much is known about it. Let us know more about the village:
The village PM Modi is talking about is Bicharpur – a nondescript forested tribal village in Shahdol district.
Bicharpur wasn’t known for good reasons but now it has undergone a complete transformation and almost every house in the village has a footballer. Perhaps, it has already produced around 45 footballers who have impressed at the state and national level. Sanya Kunde, Rajni Singh, Laxmi Sahis, Anil Singh Gond, and Hanuman Singh are some of the many football players to have earned the accolades in the sport.
The man who created a ‘mini Brazil’ out of the misery is former Football player and now a coach Raees Ahmed. He recognised the talent among the youth and started training them on his own. Perhaps, he took extra efforts and invest his money at the start even as youngsters started taking more interest in football. Modi had also spoken about him in one of the earlier ‘Mann Ki Baat’ sessions in July this year when he praised Raees for taking up the mantle.
“Raees Ahmed recognised the talent of these youngsters. Raees ji did not have many resources, but he started teaching football to the youth with full dedication. Within a few years, football became so popular that Bicharpur village itself was identified with football,” Modi had said.
‘Football Kranti’ programme also took place recently and the sport has now garnered interest in the entire Shahdol district in such a way that more than 1200 football clubs have been formed. The number of players emerging at the national level from Shahdol is also increasing now and certainly, this part of the country has now become the Football Nursery of the country.
With the Indian football team also improving with every passing year, the emergence of so many Football players from Shahdol district provides hope that the country will certainly be on the map at the international level in the sport.
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