16-year-old Sahil Poonia of Zinc Football Academy won the best goalkeeper award in his debut for India at the SAFF Under-17 Championship in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Born in Ladwa village in Hisar, Haryana, Sahil Poonia registered two cleansheets, including one in the final against Nepal, out of the four matches he played in the tournament.

Sahil was rewarded with a call from the national camp following his eye-catching performances in Zinc Football Academy’s exposure tour at Goa back in April this year. He has certainly repaid the faith shown in him by national head coach Bibiano Fernandes.

Sahil’s father Sandeep Poonia, a farmer and sole bread-earner of the family, was delighted after hearing the news of his son getting a chance to represent the country, which has been the ultimate dream of the whole family. Mr. Sandeep quoted: “I am extremely proud of Sahil as it was his dream to represent India. To go one step further and win the Best Goalkeeper award is an icing on the cake. His sheer hard work under the guidance of all the coaches and staff at Zinc Football Academy has paid off. Special thanks to Hindustan Zinc for providing such a platform and opportunity for aspiring children like Sahil.”