From Neville and Derek D’Souza to Pradip and Prasun Banerjee, Indian football has seen multiple sibling pairs don the colours over the years. Aspiring to add to the list are Nikhil and Vinil Poojary — who share the goal of playing for the national team together and fulfil their parents’ ‘lifelong dream’.
“Our parents never stopped us from pursuing our passion in football and always encouraged us right from the start to give our best and make a career in the sport. It has always been their dream to see us together in the blue jersey of the Indian team and we hope to make it come true in the future,” 24-year-old Nikhil, who is the elder of the two brothers and made his senior India debut in 2017 against Mauritius, was quoted as saying by the-aiff.com.
Vinil, who is two years younger and has featured for Goan side Churchill Brothers FC in the I-League in the last two seasons, spoke about his India ambitions and what it means to him and his family together.
“We were always encouraged to take part in activities and sports, and there were times when I even scored less in academics in school but our parents never stopped us from playing. They have always backed me and Nikhil, and stood by us — silently making sacrifices for our sake. We hope that one day we can fulfil their dream of seeing both of us in India colours together,” he said. “But it’s a tough road ahead, and I don’t mind taking it in my stride.”
The ongoing lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to train and remain in shape for sportspersons across the country.
However, the duo prefers to look at the brighter side and stated that it has enabled them to spend quality time together after years.
“It is for the first time in so many years that the four of us are together as a family again. It’s a good break for all of us. We could never celebrate any festivals together because of club commitments or national team duties. Now, we spend quality time together — talk about football and other stuff, and divide the household chores amongst us,” said Nikhil, who was part of the Indian line-up that registered a historic 0-0 draw against reigning Asian Champions Qatar in Doha last year.
With both brothers being professional footballers, Nikhil detailed how it has helped them train and remain motivated during this challenging lockdown period.
“When it comes to training at home it’s obviously better to have to two people instead of one. We can do different drills with the ball and importantly, we can push each other. If one day, I am not feeling like working out — Vinil will push me and I will do the same as well. Having each other around certainly helps in remaining focused,” Nikhil informed.