KOCHI: Football fervour is at its peak in Kochi. The most trending hashtag today is Indian Super League (ISL). But, among all the hustle and bustle, there
is a set of little boys who aim for the stars. The ball boys, for whom the ISL experience is a stepping stone towards a humongous and beautiful world of football, the matches in Kochi are moments of excitement.
The balls boys, all below the age of 12, are being deputed for the matches in Kochi by the Kerala Football Association. At present, they are undergoing strenuous training at Cochin Football Academy.
Benny, trainer, Cochin Football Academy says: “Those who are assigned as ball boys are taught how to handle the ball and where to pass it. Of the total 10 balls, nine are handled by ball boys and one is with the referee and will be used for kickoff,” he says.
According to Benny, being a ball boy benefits an aspiring player as he can watch the match closely and thus get to know the game better.
Praveen Jose, a ball boy who is also a right wing forward, says he could observe a lot about positioning, tackling and dribbling.
While for Ashwin Varma, being a ball boy is not just about learning game, but also about meeting the star players of
ISL. “Delhi Dynamo goalkeeper Marek Cech gifted me his gloves when I passed him the ball. It was a happy moment for me,” said the hard core fan of Iian Hume.