A slum named Salia Sahi spans the area of 256 acres on the land of Bhubaneswar in Odisha, and two diamonds have dynamically arisen from this shady place. Sunil and Ranjan who spent their childhood kicking a football on dusty grounds are now playing professional football on the grounds of RoundGlass Punjab Football Club. RG Punjab FC is an Indian professional football club based in Mohali, Punjab. This club competes in the I-League, which is one of the top divisions of Indian football. This miracle hasn't happened in one night, but the brothers have worked hard for this and these two brothers from Odisha have made it extremely big. Sunil Soren and his younger half-brother Ranjan Soren are 16 and 15 years old respectively. These boys used to spend their days playing on the grounds of slum without any worries about their education. Their father Rama Chandra Soren works as a mason, and the financial condition of their family is certainly weak. But the brothers received support from their father, trained hard and a golden opportunity came to them, and there was no coming back..!

Sunil Soren and Ranjan Soren, brothers from the largest slum in Odisha followed their passion to become the youngest members to sign a professional agreement with the RG Punjab FC, and they have signed a 5-year agreement with a decent payout. And these brothers are probably the first ones in Odisha to get a contract at such a young age because such contracts are only given to the senior players who are above 18. The brothers have trained hard under their coach Jaydev Mahapatra, who runs Ardor Football Academy. Jayadev also runs the largest free community soccer programmes for slum kids in Odisha. Around 5 years ago he found Sunil and Ranjan, he saw some talent in them and trained them to be better football players for coming years. Now, when most football contracts last mainly for a season, coach Jaydev specifically aimed for long term contract between RG Punjab FC and Sunil and Ranjan.

During the lockdown period of COVID 19, many options knocked the doors of Sunil and Ranjan from Odisha FC, Indian Arrows and RG Punjab FC. But the brothers went with the RG Punjab FC because it was a long term deal. In their slum area, there were 5 potential footballers, and they were introduced to coaches with All India Football Federation License (AIFF). Sunil and Ranjan were 11 and 10, respectively, when they met the coaches. The brothers underwent hard training sessions for 3 hours every day to know the technicalities and professional aspects of the game. In 2017, the brothers participated in Youth I-League through Baichung Bhutia Football School (BBFS), a junior competition for youngsters, and later in the famous Reliance Cup, which started their career with full swing. As the game of these brothers improved, they were picked by the BBFS in 2017, where they sharpened their capabilities.

The children in this slum area struggle with many problems. Many times, the playing ground is just a deserted patch of land. However, the kids in these areas are naturally aggressive and competitive, and they just need proper training and professional grooming to play with other professional players. Coach Jaydev and his team try to teach these kids all the technical terms in English with international-level training courses. This type of professional training sessions also helped Sunil and Ranjan to realize the technicalities of scanning other players, enhancing the precision of passing the ball and having a better sense of the entire game.

After learning and realising so many things about the game, Sunil and Ranjan have begun teaching some professional football skills to their friends at the slum. They want to share the opportunity they got to their similarly talented friends. Their coach Jaydev thinks that the brothers will inspire many other players in the area, and just like M.S. Dhoni inspired many players from Ranchi to join cricket, Sunil and Ranjan will also inspire several players from their area. The brothers believe that they always live on the hopes, and thus something better will come out of their passion and efforts.



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