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Arunachal teen shoots to I-League fame

Gyamar Nikum

Itanagar: Touted as one of the “brightest jewels” of Rajasthan United Football Club (RUFC), Gyamar Nikum, a 16-year-old footballer from Arunachal Pradesh has scripted history by becoming one the youngest players in the country to feature in the Hero I-League Qualifiers, one of the major soccer tournaments in the country.

A native of Takey Village in Arunachal’s Kurung Kumey district, Nikum made his debut for RUFC in the competition against Madan Maharaj Football Club on October 20.

The youngster who managed to impress the RUFC’s scouting department with his speed and shooting power during the BC Roy Trophy held earlier this year, was initially offered a scholarship seat in the RUFC’s academy but has now secured a contract with the Club until March 2022.

“Nikum is one of the youngest players in the history of Hero I-League Qualifiers. He caught the attention of our coach Vikrant Sharma during the pre-season games held in Bhilwara, Rajasthan last month. There has been no looking back for him since then,” an official of the RUFC said.

Sharma was really impressed by Nikum’s natural speed and shooting power at such a young age. The coach truly believes that he has the potential to become a professional footballer. We are certain that he will impress the scouts during the qualifiers as and when the opportunity comes, the official said.

“This has been a dream come true for me. My passion for football brought me to RUFC academy in July this year. Never did I know that I would get an opportunity to play for the senior team so soon,” an elated Nikum told NewsFy.

The RUFC’s left winger said he has always been inspired by Lionel Messi since his childhood days and he dreams to play for India one day.

“I know it’s too early for me to dream again, but I want to represent my country one day and also play for the big clubs of the country, and perhaps abroad. This is a new beginning for my footballing career and I want to make the best out of this opportunity by contributing not only on the field but also off it,” he said.    

Gyamar Nikum (Photo Courtesy: Rajasthan United Football Club (RUFC) Facebook page)

Nikum is learning new ways to improve his skills every day, thanks to the RUFC’s coaching staff and his senior teammates. Being the youngest in the squad, everyone is fond of him.

“It is our aim to provide every opportunity to these young players so that they improve early and bring professional approach to their everyday programme. I am really proud of Nikum and want other youth players to keep working hard,” Kamal Saroha, the founder of RUFC said.

Rajat Mishra, the co-founder of the club said: “I am extremely happy and proud of the fact that a young player of the team caught the eyes of our coach and got shortlisted for the qualifiers, I wish him and the team the best.”

Nikum would be making his second appearance for RUFC on October 23 where the club will face Kenkre Football Club in a decisive match of the Hero I-League Qualifiers.

Hero I-League Qualifiers is a qualification tournament, consisting of a total of 10 teams. The league winner of the qualifiers will compete in the I-League. (With inputs from RUFC Media Team)

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