FC Goa’s Muhammed Nemil Vailiyattil is a player to keep an eye on this season. The 19-year-old, from Kozhikode, Kerala, joined FC Goa in October 2020. The midfielder is on a 4-year contract with the Gaurs.

The young starlet who is a product of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) said, “RFYC has been a huge turning point for me. I received quality facilities, took advantage of that, and gave my everything in the training sessions.”

Before the final call-up for FC Goa, Nemil had a 10-day final selection in Mumbai which prima facie, wasn’t the best as per his standards.

“The first two days went poorly for me. I couldn’t show myself in the training sessions. I called my mom and told her I’m not going to get selected here. It was hard for me, but I gave my everything because why not. The day I got selected, it was heaven for me.”

During his days at RFYC, Nemil lauded the opportunities he got and ensured that he made it count. “Not many people get such opportunities, I took advantage of it and gave my everything. I wasn’t good at academics. The staff (at RFYC) had experienced foreign and Indian coaches, and were immensely helpful with academics, coaching, and training,” said Nemil.

Having been to England and Japan with RFYC, Nemil took the next step after his FC Goa signing, and went to Spain, to further individually train with professionals, and experienced coaches by Reliance Academy.

“When I was young, I didn’t realise we could use both our feet, I thought it wasn’t normal. Later on, I realised it came naturally to me to play with both feet,” Nemil said on being a two-footed player.

On signing for FC Goa, Nemil lauded his experience with the club. “I feel really good to play with the professionals and to be at one of the best clubs of India. Everybody here is equal, just because I’m young doesn’t mean I’m treated any differently, everyone helps me and respects me at this club.”

Born and bred in Kozhikode, Nemil started his footballing days in this city and labels it as one of the best cities for football. “We used to play various tournaments, 3v3, 5v5, street football. Through these games, I grew as a player, developed the courage to go big, to tackle, and press big players. The game is rough here, there’s more fight than football on the pitch,” says Nemil jokingly.

Nemil’s journey has just started with him being part of the squad for the Hero ISL and looks ahead at playing for the national team.