Kozhikode: It is hard enough to score a goal, harder still to score from a corner kick. At that angle, one has to be extremely precise with the kick to get the ball to swerve and dip and out of the hands of the goalkeeper. Most get it wrong, but the few ones who don't are instantly rocketed into football stardom.
Dani PK, a class 5 student of Presentation School in Kerala's Kozhikode district is the latest entrant to this short list of footballing superstars. A sensational goal off a corner kick in the final of the All Kerala Kids Football tournament, has earned the 10-year-old the nickname 'Lionel' Dani.
The video of the goal, which was first shared by Dani's mother Novia Ashraf on Facebook on February 9, went viral after it was shared by former legendary striker I.M. Vijayan. The video, now viral on social media, has already garnered over two lakh views and 4,000 shares.
In the video, Dani is seen curving the ball right into the net over the goalkeeper's head from the corner.
Dani, who plays for Kerala Football Training Centre (KFTC) club, scored a hat-trick in the final and was adjudged the player of the tournament for his 13 goals. The All Kerala Kids Football tournament was held at Meenangadi in Kerala's Wayanad district.
Dani's father Abu Hashim, who is a photographer with Malayala Manorama, said that his son has been playing football from an early age. "Football is his favourite sport. He loves it so much that no matter how many footballs we buy him, he always asks for another one," Hashim said.
“Every morning, Novia and I have to help him with packing his school bag as per the timetable. But he needs no alarm clock, no help to wake up or pack his football kit when he has to go for training at 6am. Such is his love for the game,” he said.
Dani joined the KFTC club when he was in class 2 and has been playing with much older kids for the last three years.
“Dani swears by Barcelona,” said Hashim. So, no prizes for guessing who his footballing idol is. He wants to visit Spain during his school vacation next year. “That's the only country he wants to visit. And, of course, he wants to meet Messi.”
In fact, it was his passion for the game and his talent that landed him a role in a Malayalam film Aanaparambile World Cup, to be released in May, his father said. The story revolves around a football-crazy kid (Dani), and stars Antony 'Pepe' Varghese of Angamali Diaries and Jallikattu fame.
The film also has Vijayan and another former India international Jo Paul Ancheri playing themselves.
“Dani was always around Vijayan during the shoot. He had a great time shooting with the two stalwarts of Indian football,” Hashim said.