KOCHI: At the Homeless World Cup (July 27-August 3) at Cardiff, Wales, two members from Chellanam, Alan Solomon K J and Mayjo Thomas were part of the Indian team. Alan who played as a forward and scored 21 goals and Mayjo the goalkeeper who was recognised for the ‘save of the tournament’ were both awarded the fair play whistle. India beat Germany 6-4 and won the Dragon Cup.
The duo got the opportunity through Project VENDA (Say NO to Drugs) which is run by the Fourth Wave Foundation. The NGO encourages teens and young adults to steer clear of drug abuse. Alan and Mayjo were identified for their talent when they played at the VENDA Cup, an annual football tournament. Thereafter, they went for selection trials held by an NGO called Slum Soccer at Nagpur and both the boys were chosen to represent India.
Project VENDA arranged a felicitation for the boys at St Mary’s High school, Chellanam. The director of Project VENDA C C Joseph emphasised that the fair play award was extra special to Project VENDA. The others who felicitated the boys included MLA K J Maxi, Fr Joppy Kootumkal, general manager, Corporate Educational Agency, Cochin Diocese, and Xavier Pius, former Indian football captain.