Photo credit: Aniket Jadhav's Twitter handle

From a ball boy in the first two seasons of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) to representing India at the international level, Aniket Jadhav fulfilled his dream when he made his debut against Bahrain last week with an impressive season at Hyderabad FC on his back.

“Playing for the National Team is a dream for me since childhood. When I got the chance to play for the country and make my debut against Bahrain recently 23/03/2022, it was a dream come true for me,” tweeted Jadhav.

India narrowly lost out to Bahrain in the final few minutes of the game when Mahdi Al-Humaidan scored the winner after Rahul Bheke’s equaliser. Jadhav reacted to the loss, expressing gratitude to head coach Igor Stimac and the management that showed faith in him.

“Of course, it was a tough game against such a team but there was a lot to learn and it was a really great experience for a young player like me."

"I am very thankful to my coach, the management and everyone who trusted me and gave me a chance to play for the National Team.”

Jadhav comes from Kohlapur, a small city in Maharashtra. He later moved to Pune where he unleashed his potential to pursue football, after which he represented India at the U-17 FIFA World Cup.

“The support and love I have received from Kolhapur, Pune and all over the country were very important for me as a player. I have to thank each and every one of you for that unconditional support, which always makes us stronger,” Jadhav tweeted further conveying his appreciation for fans who have stood alongside him and his team.

After the defeat to Bahrain, India faced Belarus in another international friendly where a more heartbreaking result emerged, with then losing 0-3. Jadhav stated that India needs to train harder and improve every day to compete more closely with tough opponents.

“And as the coach mentioned, we need to work really hard and improve before we can compete with stronger teams. We have to train every minute of every day to try and improve as a player and to reach that level soon and we will surely come back stronger."

"I hope you will continue showing your love to my club and the country and I hope we can win bigger things in the future. Jai Hind!”

In the recently concluded Hero ISL 2021-22 season, Jadhav looked like an improved player with more consistency and stability. He scored twice and provided an assist thrice while making 20 appearances for Hyderabad FC, helping them lift the coveted Hero ISL title trophy.