The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has selected a 14-year-old boy from Sambalpur to be part of the national junior (under 15) team that will play a tournament in Madrid next month. Sources said Rakesh Oram is the lone player from Odisha to represent the country.
Rakesh lives in the Sambalpur sports hostel, run by the state sports department, and studies in Class IX of Sambalpur NG High School. He came to the hostel after he was spotted by coach Gangadhar Behera during a talent search in 2010. “I am proud of him. During the last few years, he has shaped up well,” Behera said on Wednesday.
He said Rakesh’s foot work took the state team to the semi-finals in the 34th national sub-junior championship (Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy ) held in Goa in 2011. Rakesh had scored three goals against Karnataka, two against UP and one against Meghalaya. “He attracted a lot of attention because of his performance. AIFF selected him for the regional academy of Navi Mumbai and now he will fly to Madrid to represent the country,” Behera added.
Rakesh will go to Mumbai on Friday to join the junior national team that is scheduled to leave for Spain on July 2 from New Delhi. “I am delighted to know about my son’s selection,” said Gopal Oram, Rakesh’s father. Rakesh belongs to Chituapada village near Jharsuguda.