Missing out on u-17 world cup made Mohammad Nawaz ‘a better keeper’

When one speaks of India at 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, one always thinks of the young goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem. 

However, there was another keeper from Manipur on the fringes of the core squad that was built by AIFF ahead of the U-17 World Cup, whose name may not have featured much two years back, but is very much prominent now. Mohammad Nawaz has mesmerized one and all with his displays for FC Goa this season at the age of 19. He has even gone on to eclipse veteran local boy Laxmikant Kattimani, who brings bags full of experience with him.


Having started in Manipur when he was just a kid, Nawaz was scouted by the AIFF Elite Academy when he was just 13-years-old. With the U-17 World Cup coming up, Nawaz was picked in the core squad of players who would be prepped for the mega tournament.

From going on international tours with the squad, to playing some of the best junior sides from across the world, Nawazhad done it all. However, he couldn’t find place in the core squad for the mega event.

“I was very disappointed when I missed out on the U-17 World Cup squad. Throughout my five years at the Academy till then, I had kept that as my goal, and then suddenly I was out of the reckoning,” said Nawaz. “But that’s all part of life. The phase made me a better keeper.”

“Mujhe team mein ghusna hi tha”

The young goalkeeper may have been disappointed, but he was not to be deterred. “It was saddening at first, but then seeing Dheeraj do so well in the World Cup also motivated me. I told myself that I could not let this setback ruin my career,” he said. “I decided that this was just the first step, and that I would have to work hard and get back in the sphere of national team football. Mujhe team mein ghusna hi tha (I just had to play for India),” quipped a determined Nawaz.


After the World Cup, Nawaz started training hard, and became one of the first players from the core U-17 squad to get a contract with a Hero Indian Super League side – FC Goa.

“I was quite happy to finally get a professional contract,” said Nawaz, who comes from a humble family. His father works as a driver, and his mother as an anganwadi worker. “This contract helped me bring some financial stability to my family.” Although it was a major breakthrough for the youngster, he was still kept in the reserve side of the club, that would ply its trade in the Hero 2nd Division League.

“The Reserve team was a good start, but my ultimate goal still remains to play for the senior National Team. So I knew that I had to play as well as I could in the 2nd Division, and make it to the first team,” he said. That did not take too long, as Nawaz’s exploits in the 2018 Goa Pro League were noticed by none other than FC Goa Head Coach Sergio Lobera. “He came up to me, and told me that he liked my performance and that he wants to take me to the senior team to play in the ISL.”

From then on, Nawaz has not looked back, putting his World Cup disappointments well behind him, as he looked to build a better future at Goa. “Coach gave me a lot of confidence when I first came into the first team. The staff and management also helped a lot with different aspects – what to eat, what kind of a daily routine to follow. All these things have helped me become a better and a fitter athlete,” he said.


Nawaz’s dream of playing in the National Team colours was partially fulfilled when he was selected for the U-23 camp, and subsequently in the India U-23 squad for the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers in Uzbekistan. “Nawaz is a very talented goalkeeper. He was well spotted by the AIFF Academy back when he was young, and he keeps proving to everyone why he is such a huge potential,” said India U-23 Goalkeeping Coach Gumpe Rime.

“He may not be the tallest of goalkeepers, but he very well makes up for that with his positioning sense, good movement of his feet, and his agility,” Rime continued. For Nawaz himself, it was a rather emotional moment, to be back in the national team colours. “I can’t tell you how happy I was to have been selected for the U-23 National Side,” he said. “I had worked so hard after the U-17 World Cup. And I can see the results. But there is still a long way to go.”

– Courtesy AIFF media
Trial Update: Sudeva to conduct selection trials all over the country
Also Read: India to play King’s Cup alongside Curacao, Vietnam and host Thailand 
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian football.

Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League

Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…


Sunday Boys to hold trials for MFA 1st Division

MFA 1st division side Sunday Boys FC will be conducting trials in the first week of November for the upcoming football season Sunday Boys Football Club was established in the…


Millat FC to hold trials for MFA Elite Premier League

Millat FC – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season Millat had a decent run in…


MFA Elite Division club KSA to conduct trials for the upcoming season

Karnataka Sporting Association (KSA) – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season KSA had an amazing…


Young Guns Football Acadmey to conduct trials for their upcoming MFA 3rd Division Campaign

MFA 3rd Division club Young Guns Football Academy will be conducting open trials on October 9th for their upcoming season in Mumbai Football Young Guns Football Academy was founded in…


OSCAR SSE to conduct trials for Youth I League and YPL team in the U13 category in Mumbai

Mumbai-based OSCAR SSE will conduct trials for their Youth I League and YPL team on 16th and 17th July 2022 at Wings Sports Centre ground. Oscar SSE is a 2-star…


ROQS to host trials for MFA Super Division

ROQS is revamping their squad for the upcoming season of the MFA Super Division. The team is organising trials for the men’s football team on Monday, 11th of July, 2022….


MSP Academy is holding trials for the upcoming MFA Youth League

MFA Super Division club Mumbai Soccer Prodigies will be conducting trials for their MFA Youth League campaign on 22nd May 2022 in Bandra, Mumbai. Founded in 2006, the Mumbai Soccer…


Football School of India to conduct Youth Trials

Mumbai-based Football School of India is going to conduct youth trials for its boys and girls squads. The trials will be conducted for players in the age group of under-13…


Bengaluru FC Elite Youth Football Trials

Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club that competes in the Indian Super League (ISL) and are past champions of the I-League and ISL. The club has launched its Soccer…