11 Narendra Vakare
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Narendra Vakare is the son of a professor who triumphed over societal pressures to become a footballer.
In keeping with family tradition, Narendra has not completely discarded academics – “How could I?” he says with a wry smile.
His elder brother was also inclined towards sports, but being the eldest son, he was not all that lucky. Today, Narendra’s elder sibling is a doctor. He, however, supports Narendra wholeheartedly – perhaps he doesn’t want his little brother to share the same fate as him.
For a 18-year-old, his demeanor is deceiving. He doesn’t have any pubescent airs about him when he talks in a quiet and hushed manner. When he opens up during a conversation, it becomes quite apparent that he is a smart boy.
He strains his voice if he feels you are missing a point and makes sure you have all the necessary information on him.
Narendra’s aquiline features and close-knit eyebrows bears a striking resemblance to Zinedine Zidane’s features. Much like Zindane, he gives you the impression that he will stop at nothing once he gets the ball rolling!
He was bitten by the soccer bug when he attended an Under-12 summer football camp in Mumbai. After the introduction, his appetite and passion for the game has spiraled upwards.
According to Narendra, soccer is the most beautiful game. He likes and plays cricket too, but well, nothing beats playing football for this teenager. He consistently continued to pursue football throughout his school days while studying in Vidya Vikasini English High School and St Francis in Mumbai. Narendra’s dedication towards the sport paid off.
In 2010, he was selected to play for the Under-19 Air India Team. The selection was the first step up the ladder of professionalism.
Ever since, he has played in the Super Division, Mumbai Football League and his most memorable match being against Bank of India when his team was two goals down. “We managed to score two goals in the last remaining 20 minutes of the match and then scored one more goal to win the game,” he says.
However, what leaves a lasting impression is that Narendra comes across as a player who brings a lot of thought and intelligence to the game – it will be a treat to watch him evolve!