Hyderabad FC's Aniket Jadhav justifying the hype around him at every step
Everyone likes a coming-of-age story in sports. From being a jubilant teenager to showing the correct technical and mental attributes to finally becoming a star - these words best describe Aniket Jadhav. The son of an auto-rickshaw driver in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Jadhav has made himself a household name amongst football fans across the country.
Fame is not new for him. Prior to the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup, people in Kolhapur made a selfie point and started associating themselves with him. Everyone started talking about the World Cup and for a city famous for its wrestlers, a footballer became their next prodigy.
The 21-year-old has gone from strength to strength. This season he has been one of the best players for Hyderabad FC. With two goals and three assists, he is HFC’s second-highest goal contributor. His most recent goal against SC East Bengal embodies his playing style - getting the ball on the left, dribbling it into the box, and finally, shooting from an angle which many would try to pass from. In a nutshell, that is a hallmark of a supremely confident & talented player.
“Aniket is a player with a lot of qualities. But he is young and can improve in a lot of areas, especially in decision-making. But he is a player who with his qualities in the future can be an important player in Indian football because he is a player who can score goals, who can dribble, who can cross. I think he is an important player on our team at this moment.”, said Hyderabad FC Head Coach Manuel Marquez, who has backed the youngster starting him in the last six games for the Nizams.
Jadhav has repaid his manager’s trust and has developed into one of the best wingers in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). His cross success rate of 32.26% is the 9th best in the league. But as his manager pointed out, the former U-17 World Cup star still has a lot to develop in his game. On average he currently completes 14 passes a game, and has an 8% goal conversion rate. However, with time and experience, these statistics are bound to improve.
At the time of writing, Hyderabad FC sits at the top of the table with 20 points. And, you feel that if they are to quench their thirst for a maiden Hero ISL title, Aniket Jadhav is going to play an influential role.