How young is ISL’s youngest Goal scorer?

Since yesterday, the talk around the Indian Football circuit is all about Gaurav Mukhi, the Jamshedpur FC youngster whose maiden goal in his debut ISL match brought the red miners back in to the game.

Just when it looked like Bengaluru FC would be coasting to victory and with Tim Cahill not working either, Jamshedpur FC brought in an unknown entity in Gaurav Mukhi as substitute with less than 20 minutes for play to end.

With less than 10 minutes left on clock, Mukhi outmuscled Serran to race into the box receiving Maria Arques’ chip before slotting it past Gurpreet Singh for the equalizer. There was more drama later on as Sunil Chhetri’s late goal was cancelled out by Cidecho’s injury time equaliser, yet the talk of the town was a certain 16 year old becoming the youngest ever to play and score in the Indian Super League. Indian Football had found a sensation or so it seemed??

As the Commentators and ISL Social Media handles began applauding the youngster with frequent youngest goal scorer post, one look at the so called 16 year old youngster with handlebar mustache and beard was all that needed to raise doubt. It didn’t take long for people to find this doubt worthy as multiple reports surfaced regarding the so called age discrepancy.

The first one was a telegraph article where the writer writes Mukhi to be a 28 year old Jamshedpur Reserves lad been promoted to senior side this season. This soon turned out to be unworthy source as the post was already claimed to have a typo back in September when it first came out. (Source: The telegraph report). However another article soon resurfaced that suggested that Gaurav Mukhi was one of the five players caught to be over-aged in Jharkhand’s U15 win back in the year 2015. Jharkhand was later stripped of their titled and fined Rs 1 Lakh. (Source: E.Pao)

Also Read: Jamshedpur, Bengaluru share spoils in an dramatic encounter

While Gaurav Mukhi doesn’t look like a 16 year old now he is not a 28 year old either, the above picture of the youngster was taken around 4 years ago.

Reports of Age frauds in Indian Football is not surprising anymore, Sport journalist have often come out with this news every now and then. However it is unfortunate that a lad, whose stellar performance in his debut game should have been the talking point as his age doing the same. Having born in poverty, there is a high chance of the boy not having any official documentation of his age and despite being caught by AIFF formerly for the same, ISL’s eagerness to promote its brand as the future of Indian Football as brought in an unnecessary attention.

The fact is Gaurav Mukhi is not playing any age group tournament and doesn’t look likes he would be anytime soon there was no need of ISL to push the lad as the youngest player without fact checking. It will be interesting to see what goes from here, surely ISL would not want to boast about it as frequently as they would have liked now that people are questioning its authenticity.

Nevertheless, one should not forget the performances of Gaurav Mukhi in yesterday’s game and what he could possibly promise to deliver in future

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