20 Nikhil Kadam
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Nikhil was not even ten years old when he saw a football match for the first time and instantly fell in love with the game. Soon he enrolled for his school team and encouraged by his uncle, who represented Maharashtra Police in football, made steady progress through the ranks.
His first break came when he was selected to represent his state at the Under-14 School Nationals, in Haryana in 2008, which led to a selection trial by Krida Prabodhini in Pune.
It was here that Nikhil’s coach Jaideep Angirwal helped mould him into a left winger. Soon he was selected for a District tournament representing Kolhapur where his team made it all the way to the final before finishing as runners up. He was then selected as part of the Subroto Cup squad of Krida Prabodhini.
He stayed with the academy in Pune until his coach informed him about the trials at PFC. Enrolling for the U-19 trials, the winger impressed with his dribbling and crossing ability and was inducted into the PFC academy U-19 team.
The youngster, who has two elder sisters apart from his parents in his family, is immersed all day long in football.
If not playing the game then he is usually watching highlight reels of his idol Lionel Messi. He feels that by trying to inculcate the Argentine Wizard’s dribbling and passing skills in his game, he can go a long way in the sport.
The winger wants to one day represent India on the international stage. But if he doesn’t make it as a player then the B Com. Yashwantrao Mohite College student hopes to stay in the game and make it as a football coach.