ATK hero Jewel Raja once fled from SAI academy

Written by: Sujata Sarkar
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Kolkata, Dec 22: After steering his team Atletico De Kolkata to the second victory in the final of ISL 3, Jewel Raja got the heartiest welcome on Wednesday, December 21.

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The midfielder was given a warm felicitation at his village Achipur which is situated on the brink of river Ganges, around 65 kilometres far from city Kolkata.

Jewel Raja

Jewel who still seems anxious over his future as he has not yet received call from any I-league clubs revealed an interesting story of his early football life which according to him resembles with legendary footballer  Cristiano Ronaldo’s early life.

Jewel said: “At the age of 12 years old I got a chance at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) academy in Kolkata.

"But I had such a passionate psychological bonding with my mother that initially I did not want to be separated from her and live in the SAI hostel.

"But my father peeved at my attitude, forcefully took me to SAI and got me admitted at the SAI hostel. He was passionate on the game and his dream was to make both me and my elder brother Tarif successful.

"But at the time I only used to know my mother. And as its reflection, after staying some days at the SAI academy, one day morning I fled from hostel with an aim of returning to home.

"But at the same time how could one 12-year old boy who does not know anything about Kolkata return to Achipur?

"So, I again went back to SAI. But surprisingly while talking over phone my mother also scolded me a lot and stressed on the point that I must try to establish myself as a footballer.”

Jewel also played cricket quiet seriously in the early days. He represented his village in the inter-district championship also.

His father Nurul Rana said: “He switched over to football mainly because of me and his elder brother Tariq."

And his elder brother also looked anxious and said: “My anxiety will not go away unless Jewel is signing any I-League club.”

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