Saturday, May 12, 2007

Agile and kicking

Kilp Barfungpa so impressed the Sports Authority of India that they even wanted to sponsor him so that he could train at the Tata Academy of Football. However, this Class VIII student wanted to concentrate on his schooling for the time being and politely declined the offer.

Currently a student of Kodai International School (KIS), Kilp has been playing football since Class I. Originally from Sikkim, Kilp has participated in the All India Under-14 Tournament organised by the Sikkim Football Association, where he was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament. While he is a left striker in school, Kilp plays in the left midfield position in other tournaments.

Talking of his hometown, Kilp says, ‘‘I go there every vacation. I practice there with my brother.’’ Ask him about how he manages school and football, and prompt comes the reply, ‘‘I practice for two hours after school everyday. Moreover, I’m not very good at studies,’’ he grins.

Kilp is the youngest member on the A team at school and the first middle school student to be ever selected for the KIS A team (Super Seniors). The A team also won the Kodai Open Soccer Tournament this year.

An ardent follower of the English Premier League, Kilp lists Manchester United as his favourite team. Ask him about his favourite Manchester United player and he replies without a pause, ‘‘Paul Scholes.’’ Closer home, Mohun Bagan is his favourite football club. ‘‘It is one of the oldest clubs in the world,’’ he says, citing the reason for his admiration.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Kilp rooted for Spain. ‘‘The Spanish team consisted of all young players, that’s why,’’ he says.

And it’s not just football that Kilp’s interest lies in, though it does remain his biggest passion. He recently set a new long jump record at his school at 5.42 metres. A master of all trades?

‘‘I want to play professional football,’’ says Kilp. Right now, however, he’s busy juggling the ball with his textbooks.