Sex work­ers’ kids dream of foot­ball league en­try

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Somshu­vra Laha let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Yakub Ali is 16 but has met his mother a hand­ful of times in the last five years. The son of a sex worker in Kolkata’s Son­a­gachi area, Yakub has spent the past half a decade hon­ing his skills as a foot­baller.

He says he knows his mother is go­ing through hell to give him a life. “We hope one day our lives will change if I can achieve my goal. Foot­ball, I hope, will one day give me recog­ni­tion,” Yakub says.

The teenager and his friends — all chil­dren of Son­a­gachi sex work­ers — are aim­ing to make his­tory by be­com­ing the firstof-its-kind team to com­pete in a na­tional Un­der-15 youth league.

The young play­ers make do with sec­ond-hand boots and mea­gre meals but are buoyed by the en­thu­si­asm of their moth­ers, who of­ten come see them play at lo­cal tour­na­ments. Play­ers pre­pare for a match at the Dur­bar sports academy in Rahul Vid­dya Nike­tan, a home for sex work­ers’ kids.

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