Stalin has been India’s first choice left back and set piece expert ever since his AFC U-16 days and has held onto that role under both Nicolai Adam and Luis Norton de Matos.
Sanjeev Stalin are one of the few players who’ve been with this team ever since its U-16 playing days. The left-back has a dynamic burst of pace, knows his defensive skills well and is almost always at the right place at the right time. The full-back is set to feature in Luis Norton de Matos‘ plans for the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, at home.
Not many football players score their first goal from the half-line, in fact, it is rather a rarity when a goal is scored from the half-line in football. But when Sanjeev Stalin struck the ball from the half-way line, little did he know that he was articulating one of the rarest forms of scoring goals in football.
In that moment, all Sanjeev could think about was how his father would have been feeling seeing him score a stunner. “My first goal was from the halfway line in a local football tournament and it was an amazing feeling. All I could think about was how happy would my father be at that moment.”
“My father played football, but he never played it professionally, in fact, he introduced me to the sport and my father had a dream of seeing me play football for the nation”, Stalin says. Hence when one asks Stalin who is favourite footballer is, the defender thinks little about Messi or Ronaldo and quips “My father Stalin senior”.
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“I am what I am because of him. He made everything possible for me in life. We have clothes’ shop on the footpath and my father has been my biggest inspiration to never give up in life.”
But that is not it. “I started playing football barefoot and the first time I wore cleats, it felt uneasy”, quips Sanjeev.
“But after a while, I grew used to them. I was 10 when I first joined the Chandigarh Football Academy and my life changed from there.”
Sanjeev Stalin has been a vital cog in the Indian U-17s defense line and has been, “fulfilling his family’s wishes.”
“My family always wanted me to play football and represent the nation. I am thankful to God that I have a family which supports me through thick and thin. Everything I do is for them.”