Chennaiyin FC adds colour to local school

As part an initiative of painting 200 Corporation schools across the city, Chennaiyin FC players were invited to get the ball rolling by painting the corporation school in Begum Sahib Street. 

Chennaiyin FC players paints chennai middle school

Chennaiyin FC players painting the Corporation Middle School, Royapettah in Chennai.   -  K.V. Srinivasan

Located in a narrow lane of a bustling Royapettah, Chennai Middle School, one of the oldest schools in the city, was a beehive of activity on Monday. As part of Nippon Paint's and United Way's initiative of painting 200 Corporation schools across the city, Chennaiyin FC players were invited to get the ball rolling by painting the corporation school in Begum Sahib Street. 

Despite the hectic schedule and the hard rigours of training as the Indian Super League nears the business end of the tournament, Chennaiyin players were seen enjoying their day out — dancing, playing keepie-ups and taking questions from the enthusiastic students. The teachers were surprised to see their students gleefully lap up the presence of the star players. Children from neighbouring schools had also gotten wind of the news and rushed in time to catch a glimpse of their favourite players. 

Dhanpal Ganesh, who became the first local player to play for the club this season, received the loudest cheer. He talked about his days of kicking a ball around in the streets of Vyasarpadi. 

Veteran Spanish defender Inigo Calderon, who has impressed both on and off the pitch in his maiden stint in India, is enjoying taking part in the outreach programs organised by the club. "Sometimes it feels like we live in a box for 24 hours. It's good to go out and see these kids who are full of energy. I love their personality. They are the future and you feel the energy from them," Calderon told Sportstar.

On the field, Chennaiyin captain Henrique Sereno is often seen as an intimidating individual, whom you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of. Here, the people were able to see the cheekier side of the defender. 

The players decorated the walls with their hand impressions in different colours. Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua inscribed his name and shirt number on the wall. Sereno, who chose his Portuguese national flag colour — green — took the opportunity to smear paint on the shirt of an unimpressed Dhanpal. 

Ironically, the teachers were neither aware of the existence of the club nor the names of those players who graced their grounds. But they knew the opportunities their presence helped. "It's a big honour for us to host the Chennaiyin players. This could help us with admissions for the next academic year," said the school's headmistress Mehboob Rahmani. 

  Dugout videos