A 17-year-old from Ollukkara in Thrissur district has been selected to the 21-member Indian squad for the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Rahul Kannoly Praveen will play as a midfielder for India if he is selected in the final 11, Deccan Chronicle reports.
The talented player is "known for his exceptional ability in striking long balls and his agility on the football turf", the report states.
Rahul has been attending the national-level football camps for the last three years.
According to Manorama, Rahul is the only Malayalee in the team and has been working very hard for several years now to excel in the sport. In fact after completing Class 10, Rahul decided to completely focus on football over academics.
Rahul's school in Mukkattukara did not have a football team, as a result of which he was unable to train under qualified coaches.
He picked up the rules of the game himself while playing with his friends in the fields near his house, the report says. However, one person who played an important role in his growth as a player is his uncle Shibu, who always encouraged him to follow his dreams.
The football bug had bitten Rahul early in life. During his summer vacations, he would look for football camps instead of whiling away his time at home, his father Kannoly Praveen said.
M Peethambaran, the former Kerala Santosh Trophy coach who trained Rahul for some years, described him as a "fantastic box-to-box player" who is "blessed with unbelievable pace."
Let's get to know more about Rahul Kannoly Praveen. #BackTheBlue #FIFAU17WC #INDvUSAPosted by Indian Football Team on Tuesday, 19 September 2017
On Thursday, the 21-man Indian squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup being held on home turf, was announced.
The World Cup, which will start with Group A matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi and the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, will conclude on October 28.
The hosts will play their inaugural fixture against the US at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on October 6.
This is the India U-17 squad:
- Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill, Sunny Dhaliwal
- Defenders: Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Hendry Antonay, Namit Deshpande
- Midfielders: Suresh Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Abhijit Sarkar, Komal Thatal, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Md. Shahjahan
- Forwards: Rahim Ali, Aniket Jadhav