Nandha Kumar is a vibrant footballer from Vyasarpadi, Chennai who currently plays for Delhi Dynamos. But the glitz and the glamour of the world of football and its players is yet to touch him. The younger son to Sekar and Sarasu, Nandha Kumar was identified and brought to the Children’s Collective in his area, run by CRY supported project Slum Children Sports Talents Education Development Society (SCSTEDS) at the age of 7. At that time, his father who used to work as an auto rickshaw driver had to stop working owing to health issues which left Sarasu to earn for the family. She began selling snacks outside school premises which provided the family with just Rs. 3000 to 5000 a month. They lived in a tiny house, with used asbestos sheets for a roof. Nandhakumar and his family survived on a single meal every day and he was completely dependent on the mid-day meals provided in the school.
Despite these difficulties, Nandha Kumar was an active member of the Children’s Collective and the project members realized that there was a threat of him having to drop out of school to provide for his family. SCSTEDS, through football, helped Nandha Kumar and many other students in the locality to gain an interest in education and continuously worked to motivate them to stay committed to their education. At the age of 9, Nandha Kumar played in an under-10 tournament organized by the Chennai Football Association (CFA) in Vyasarpadi and scored maximum goals for SCSTEDS paving the way for their win.
Over the years, Nandha Kumar has played for various CFA tournaments and was also completed his B.Com at Hindustan University, Chennai with a full scholarship while playing for the Hindustan Eagles. Lauded by professionals such as Ronaldinho during his stint with Premier Futsal, he was chosen to play for Chennai City FC (CCFC) in 2016 in the I-League and has currently been loaned to Delhi Dynamos for ISL. Owing to his outstanding performance at CCFC, he was directly selected to represent the Indian team in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under-23 Championship in Doha and Singapore in 2017.
And while Nandha Kumar continues to reach heights representing India in various countries and arenas, he still lives with his family in the same house in Vyasarpadi.