CHENNAI: A few months ago, Praveendran was playing for AG’s office in the CFA Senior division league. On the 15th of July, he was sharing a dressing room with Ronaldinho “ ’If you remember right, I always used to tell you about how Ronaldinho is the reason for me to come into football, and now I am playing in his team. I feel blessed,’” said Praveendran .
As he was relaxing and preparing for the next season, there was news of selection trials happening in Goa. The striker wasted no time and was rewarded as he got selected in a merit camp on June 9. “I wasn’t aware of the trials in Chennai. But there was still time for the trials in Goa. At that point, we didn’t know that Ronaldinho was coming. It’s amazing.”
Asked whether he has plans of shifting from football to futsal, the young forward was very quick to deny it. “I am always a football man. I will be playing futsal only for one season. I feel the tournament will help me improve my dribbling and shooting skills so that I can be more prolific next season,” he added. “Also, there is no contract or clause. I am not getting any salary for playing. But some things are better than money. It’s a dream come true.”
Praveendran who is in Goa for the second leg of Premier Futsal is quite disappointed that Ronaldinho had to leave for Brazil. But his excitement to meet Cafu, the replacement for Ronaldinho, was visible as he spoke. “It’s two legends now. Sometimes I pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming.” Coming from a middle class family, Praveendran did not have a lot of luxuries when he grew up. But everything has changed now. “We all live in the same hotel as the stars. The hotel and the facilities are top class. The stars are walking past me,” he said with childish joy.
Despite all this, Praveendran has not yet starred for Goa 5. The striker is suffering an ankle injury and missed all the matches in Chennai. But he has other plans. “I have been taking extra care and doing the right exercises. I am almost certain that I will play a few matches in Goa. Winning this league would be incredible,” he said.