1 July 2015: A twelve-year-old boy from Kathmandu is set to become the youngest Nepalese to train at Manchester United summer camp.
For a country where thousands of children go without access to even basic education, Daniel David Katwal is extremely fortunate to be able to travel overseas for a sports training session.
He is also fortunate to find a staunch supporter in the form of his dad, Neel David Katwal. The celebrity hairstylist from Kathmandu says he will stop at nothing in order to help his son realise his dream, which is, to play European soccer in the future.
And then come back home and represent his country at international tournaments.
The cool dad has proved his words too. He has already gotten his son trained by Raju Kaji Shakya, the former captain of Nepal’s national soccer team who runs National Football Academy in Kathmandu.
Mr Katwal also sent him to Bangkok for a two-month training session, from December 2014 to February 2015, where he was trained under former Liverpool FC player Kevin Watt. The proud father flew to Bangkok to see for himself if all the praise showered on his son was indeed true.
What he saw there immensely motivated him he says and his growing confidence in his son was further boosted when Mr Watt praised the young player’s talents and recommended continued training.
“Kevin Watt highly appreciated his talents and potential,” he told southasia.com.au over the phone. He said Raju Shakya also has been a big encouragement. “Support your son,” he quoted Mr Shakya.
During the practice sessions, Mr Shakya puts Daniel David in teams above his age group and apparently he still plays impressive soccer. The rising star, who idolises Wayne Rooney, has been playing since 8 years of age.
Daniel is currently studying at Nepal’s elite private school called Ruby’s International where he should currently be sitting his first-term exams which started yesterday. But while his friends write their papers, he will be boarding the big white bird to the Mecca of Soccer early Wednesday morning.
His school also encouraged the hair stylist to take his son to England and not worry about the exams. The principal assured him that they will make special arrangement for him (to appear the exams) once he is back home from the soccer camp.
When asked about the costs of his son’s sports pilgrimages, Mr Katwal said he has already spent around NRs 1.5 million in various training activities including the Bangkok and the upcoming England sessions.
But the Manchester United is not the only international training camp the Junior Katwal has in the pipeline. The father and son are due to fly to Italy late this year for an entire month. And that camp will cost the footballer’s dad around US $6000 in fees only. “Add to it the tickets for two, hotels etc,” the man who is originally from the eastern district of Jhapa sighed adding he will be parting with another NRs 1.2 million or so.
“I wanted my son to have a proper career but when I was made to realise his passion in the sports, I promised to put in everything possible to help him. Not everyone has to be a doctor or an engineer. Go with what your children want to be, not what you want them to be,” few words of advice from a father who deserves some accolades from his fellow Nepalese in going the extra mile in helping his son. Only, the ‘extra mile’ in his case turned out to be the other side of the world!