Jitendra: ‘There is not a single day that I regret choosing football’

The young footballer, who is a part of the India U-17 squad for the FIFA World Cup, is hopeful that the tournament will inspire more kids to nurture their football skills.

Jitendra Singh (extreme right below) aspires to play for the India senior football team.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India U-17 footballer Jitendra Singh is one of those kids, who would sleep with a ball by his pillow. Caught in the crossroads between cricket and football, the youngster chose the latter and is all set to be a part of the FIFA U-17 World Cup starting next month in India.

“There is not a single day that I regret choosing football. I am happy that I chose football and look where I am today. I am proud that I get to represent my nation and that is what any athlete could ever ask for,” he told AIFF.

Despite financial stress, the lad went on to pursue football. “My father is a watchman and my mother does tailoring, but that did not stop my elder brother to play football. My brother is an inspiration for me, a motivation that keeps me going through tough times,” added Jitendra.

“I remember he (his brother) used to take me to the field to play football and that is how I got passionate for the game. Currently he plays for United Sports Club (Kolkata League) and I aspire to be like him.”

“My family has always been supportive of me playing football. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today,” sums up Jitendra in a line. Even his little brother has taken to football these days.

However, the youngster is hopeful that the FIFA U-17 mega event will inspire more kids to be like his brothers. “It is a very good platform for India to boost football’s growth. I am privileged to be a part of the setup.”

His dream is to don the senior team jersey. “I have to work very hard and become a good player so that I can represent the senior national team,” he signed off.