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Masterclass with Maradona for young fans

Zahir Molla got the biggest award of his life on Tuesday when football legend Diego Maradona applauded the Class VI student of Aditya Academy, Barasat, for saving at least 10 goal-bound shots by the former Argentine No. 10.

By Ayan Paul in Barasat
  • Published 13.12.17
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(From top) 
Diego Maradona takes a penalty kick during the workshop; after a few attempts, as he fails to beat the goalkeeper — Zahir Molla, Class VI, Aditya Academy, Barasat — the legend starts running with the ball; he tries to dribble past Zahir; Zahir dives at his feet and again makes a save; Maradona praises his effort and walks away with a smile. Pictures by B. Halder

Barasat: Zahir Molla got the biggest award of his life on Tuesday when football legend Diego Maradona applauded the Class VI student of Aditya Academy, Barasat, for saving at least 10 goal-bound shots by the former Argentine No. 10.

Zahir was one of 50-odd students who took part in a workshop by the god of football at Aditya School of Sports Stadium on Aditya Academy's Barasat campus.

"I can't believe my luck. I played goalie as the best footballer on earth took shots at the goal. I couldn't imagine I would be able to save even a single shot by him. It was the best moment of my life," Zahir said.

The 1986 World Cup winning captain came, saw and conquered the hearts of Aditya Academy students as he waved at them, blew kisses and sent several balls to the gallery with his divine left foot. The gallery, brimming with students, teachers and parents, chanted "Diego Diego" all the while.

Maradona also shared some tips with boys and girls from the Aditya Group of Schools at the 45-minute workshop. He made the participants stand in queues and tested their ability to receive and shoot the ball. He showcased his touch of class, dribbling and ball-control ability and variations of passes.

"It was a dream-come-true moment for me as I scored from a Maradona pass. I was a bit nervous initially as I was standing in front of the god of football," said Md. Faiz, Class X, Aditya Academy, Dum Dum.

Diego Maradona instructs a student to shoot at the goal during the workshop at Aditya School of Sports Stadium

Nayan Deep Rai, Class IX, Aditya Academy Barasat, was in awe of Maradona's ball-control ability at the age of 57. "I wish I can develop such amazing ball-control ability," said the boy from Kalimpong, who has been playing football for the past six years and joined Aditya Academy one-and-a-half years ago to pursue his dream of donning India jersey. "Today my one dream has been realised - meeting a football legend - and wish I could realise the other too," smiled the midfielder.

"When the god steps in and makes the kids smile, there's nothing like it," said Anirban Aditya, the chairman of Aditya Group.