New Delhi: Anwar Ali may not be a popular name in Indian football, having just started his career at the senior level, having played just the six matches for Minerva Punjab FC. But the 17-year-old has a bright future, exemplified by how he has risen from a tough upbringing to being a part of the Indian national team, albeit the under-17 one.

Ali was India’s shining light in their opener at FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 against USA at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Friday. The moment that captured the imagination of all Indian fans was when the young man came mighty close to scoring.

India may have gone down 3-0 in the game to the United States but Ali gave the fans a glimmer of hope to get their best celebration out when his shot hit a crossbar. At that time, United States were leading 2-0 and if not for luck going the other way, it should have been 2-1 with India’s first goal.

But born to a father who has been a cowherd, Ali has not had it easy. And maybe he represents that rustic charm that Indian football throws both in terms of talent as well as grit. In the days ahead, India would hope that his magic continues.