13-year-old Sandeep Marandi, born in Godda district of Jharkhand, from a very young age has been dreaming of wearing the Indian National team jersey and representing India at the FIFA World Cup. At the age of 6, Sandeep left his parents to pursue his further studies in a missionary school in Kota.

Defender Sandeep Marandi is one of our most promising players in the Academy. Head Coach Suresh Kataria says: “Sandeep, looking at his dedication, holds a very bright future. He brings about a level of maturity in the practice sessions and is definitely the most improved player in our Academy.”

The teenager often misses his mother -Premlata, with whom he shares a very congenial relation. His mother is all by herself back home as his father, Madan Marandi being a Constable, was transferred to Ranchi district a few years back.

It all started a year ago in the U14 State Level Championship Final match held in Bundi District where Sandeep Marandi, representing his missionary school from Kota, displayed a brilliant performance only to get noticed by our scouting team.

Sandeep Marandi quoted: “I had my first shot on a football while I was in Class V. Prior to that, I along with my friends, used to play with our own makeshift balls made out of things -like socks, plastic bags, strips of cloth, string and rubber bands. Today, I am happy to train and learn new techniques under the best coaches at the Zinc Football Academy. My only dream is to represent India and make my parents back home proud.”

Sandeep often remembers his former hostel mate and best friend Nalu, another footballer from Tripura. On a mischievous side, occasionally both used to skip hostel dinner, which they were fed up of, to make veggies on their own late at night. Even though it never turned out to be as dainty like their mother would have made, but they believed it to be better than their hostel food.