Accidental goalie Ahan shining bright

Accidental goalie Ahan shining bright

FINE TALENT: Ahan Prakash has twice won the Best Goalkeeper award in the BFC Soccer School's inter-school tournament.

Ahan Prakash is quickly making a name for himself among budding Indian footballers. 

With impressive goalkeeping skills, the Bengaluru lad has made rapid strides to earn a place in the Indian under-16 team that embarked upon an exposure tour to United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month. 

It was a Tri-nation tournament involving the hosts, India and Saudi Arabia. The youngster was benched for the first game against UAE but fate had different plans as the No 1 goalkeeper got a red card during the match, handing Ahan his chance to step on the field in Indian colours as a substitute. 

“It was a good (experience),” recalled Ahan, a student of Delhi Public School, East. “I got the opportunity to play in the first match itself. It was exciting but there was also pressure (to perform),” he added.

Ahan had his fair share of hardships before he was picked. He had attended the trials twice, but couldn’t make it the first time. However, in his second attempt in Bhubaneshwar, the 14-year-old made a solid impact and on November 30 last year, he came to know about his selection.

Football was not his first choice. In fact, Ahan could have been a cricketer, had it not been for his friends in the locality. “I was forced to play (football)”, revealed Ahan. “Everybody in my apartment used to play football,” he added.

Even more fascinating is his route to goalkeeping. “That was the only position left. So if I didn’t take it, I would not have got a chance to play,” he said.

Ahan’s love for the game grew from then on and so did his talent. He was picked up by the Bengaluru Football Club (BFC) Soccer School through their inter-school tournament where he won the best goalkeeper award for two years in a row (2015-16). He also played for BFC in the under-13 Youth League in the 2017-18 season.

“I got a lot of playing time there. Two or three matches were really difficult, but I learnt a lot in my time there,” he said.

Ahan made his debut for Karnataka at the Sub-junior National football tournament in 2017. A year later, he was named the captain of the side for the same event. 

His father Chaitanya Prakash and mother Tuhina Anand, both marketing consultants, are proud parents but at the same time, a little surprised by his success in sports. “Nobody in the family has ever been in the professional sport. We have no sporting background, so it was a complete surprise for us,” Prakash explained.