Ricky Shabong: 'Football is my release from poverty'

Ricky Shabong used to work as a stone breaker to earn some money for the family. Football is his escape from that life.

Ricky Shabong's (No.14) immediate goal is to help India qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2019.   -  AIFF

For Ricky Shabong, a 15-year-old defender from Meghalaya, football is the means to escape poverty. 

“I smashed stones to help my family earn some money,” says the Khasi midfielder. “I want to help my family in whatever way I can. I am pursuing a dream, the dream of making big in football. My family is also living their dream through me.”

The Meghalaya-based defender inspired India U-16 to a 2-2 draw against Bangkok Glass FC by scoring the second goal to draw India level in a match where the colts pretty much played catch-up to the opponents.

His immediate target in football is to help India qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

“I want to live my dream. But when you ask me, the immediate one is to try to qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. I once broke stones for a living. Initially that was the sole way I could help my family. But since I have started to play for India things have got better. Football is my release from poverty. I owe a lot to AIFF Academy,” he says.

Ricky’s toughness can prove to be pivotal in India U-16's attempt to qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup by progressing into the semifinals of the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018.

“I will give my hundred per cent on the field for the nation. We are gunning to create history and we are confident that we can do so. The group stage matches will be tough. Every match is tough. We will take one match at a time.”

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