Panaji: Had it not been for an unscheduled friendly against Minerva Punjab FC, Jeakson Thounaojam Singh would have never had the chance to score India’s first goal in the Fifa Under-17 World Cup.
When Jeakson jumped over the Colombian defence to head home Sanjeev Stalin’s inch-perfect corner in the 82nd minute, India had its moment of the tournament. It was India’s first goal in a Fifa tournament but, never mind the goal, Jeakson’s selection itself is a marvel.
When Nicolai Adam took charge of India’s preparations for the U-17 World Cup, he started scouting for players. During one such mission, he landed at the Chandigarh Football Academy where Jeakson, along with several others, appeared for trials. The German coach had a good look at him but eventually decided he wasn’t meant to be part of his plans.
“I was very disappointed when I got rejected but I still kept faith in myself and in my abilities,” Jeakson told TOI on Tuesday.