Underprivileged Indians get Nike, Red Bus support

Young ball juggler Tejas Raut looked amused when Laxmi Negi of Express Inda went to speak to him. He innocently shook hands and walked away. "Later," wrote Negi, "the 12-year-old would realise the importance of his achievement of accumulating 770 points to top the list among 380 boys at the Premier Indian Football Academy skills contest for the Bobby Charlton Academy held at Cooperage ground." Raut now qualifies for the BSC training camp to be held in Mumbai and Pune. If he tops the list at the camp - to be held on 15 October - he will board on a flight to Manchester and big-time football coaching.

Magic Bus, an NGO, is assisting underprivilaged youngsters like Raut and ten of their players tried out at the PIFA event. The NGO has also put up a team in the fourth division of the Mumbai District Football Association to give their players greater exposure to competitive football. "We use sports as a medium to help them direct their talent," coach Ajay Shetty said.

"The PIFA event sponsor Nike gave Raut a full kit and his face gleamed like his hero’s famous smile, when he saw the Nike boot studs. That smile could have melted anyone’s heart," Negi reported.