Gurgaon: On Saturday, when the Indian team for the under-17 World Cup beginning October 6 lined up on the stage for a promotional, the boy, who stood out because of his height and physique was defender Anwar Ali.
With a ponytail on the back of his head, Anwar is more than six feet tall and according to team management, is one of the most reliable defenders and likely to be among the coach's first choice players when India play the US in the opener.
Playing the World Cup is a kind of double delight for Anwar, who hails from Jalandhar in Punjab. Apart from representing the country at the world stage, he is also happy that he could fulfil his father's ambition.
"My father was a decent footballer at the local level. The elderly people in my village fondly remembered his attacking instinct while breaching the rival citadel.
"But, due to financial crunch, he couldn't pursue his football career. Coming from a family of farmers, he had certain responsibilities," Anwar said.
"Today I am happy more because of my father than myself. It would be a proud moment for my entire family when I step on to the ground on October 6," he said.
"We were poor but my father always encouraged me to pursue football as a career since my childhood. He would make every effort to buy me new pair of shoes and other playing gear.
"Whatever I am today is because of my father. This World Cup is a chance for me to show him that his son has the ability to become on of the country's leading footballers," Anwar added.
Team captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam said they were ready to give their all in the first ever Fifa tournament in the country. "There is no pressure on us, nor are we nervous," he said.