Sambalpur boy scores a big goal - Footballer Rakesh Oram finds place in under-15 national team that will play in Spain

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  • Published 27.06.12

Sambalpur, June 26: Scoring goals has always come easy to Rakesh Oram but this is one goal he was desperate to achieve. This teenager from the Sambalpur Sports Hostel has made it to the 14-member under-15 national football squad that will fly to Spain for the Copa Coca Cola tournament next month.

Rakesh, who hails from Chituapara in Jharsuguda, is the only Odia in the team. Delighted at having scored one for himself, he sounded ecstatic, though struggling for words to describe his feelings. “It is a dream come true, the best thing that has happened to me,” said the Class IX student of Nrusingh Guru Town High School here.

Rakesh had played a crucial role in taking Odisha to the semi-final of the 34th National Sub-Junior Football Championship held in Goa earlier this year, netting three goals against Karnataka, two against Uttar Pradesh and one against Meghalaya.

He had also helped Sambalpur clinch the Biju Pattnaik Gold Cup last year and is one among the 20 players selected to the FIFA Academy in Mumbai, which grooms promising footballers.

His father Gopal Oram works as a supervisor in a beedi company. “He has always encouraged me to take up the sport,” said Rakesh, who idolises Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and his coach Gangadhar Behera.

“Ronaldo is amazingly agile and like him, I too play in the forward position. But I will always remain indebted to my coach, who has groomed me and brought me to this stage,” he said.

Coach Behera reminisced about the day Rakesh was admitted to the Sambalpur Sports Hostel. “It was in August 2010 that he came here. He has an inborn talent and is technically very sound. He is the first player from the region to have made it to the national team. His success will inspire other players of this hostel and youths of this region to take up the sport,” he said.

Rakesh’s elder brother Prabhakar Oram said it was celebration time for the family. “On hearing the news, I immediately took a bus to Sambalpur to meet him. Several players from Chituapara have excelled at district-level tournaments and we are proud that he will play in an international tournament,” he said.