About a decade ago, Bhavneet would sneak into the wifi network of his neighbours and watch videos of Ronaldo scoring impossible goals and dream of becoming like him one day. Today, children from Bhavneet’s locality watch Bhavneet play football and dream of shooting the ball in the goalpost. In a conversation with SocialBoat, national-level football player Bhavneet talks about how his life has turned out in the past decade, and what he wishes for next. He was one of the top performers of week 1 of SocialBoat’s ‘Work From Home’ challenge, and also turned out to be it's overall winner.
How did the football fever begin?
Everyone in Bhavneet’s family, from his father to his uncle, have been football players who got their jobs because of their skill in football. Growing up in the presence of such a love for the sport, Bhavneet has been playing football since his childhood.
Based out of Chandigarh, he went to DAV school in the evening to learn football. From there he started participating in inter-school football tournaments.
Bhavneet recalls that one match that he remembers distinctively. In a match against Sr. Anne's school, one of the best schools of Chandigarh, Bhavneet scored a hattrick, and his team won the match.
“I gained so much confidence from that match,” Bhavneet says. Winning that match was a big achievement since a government school winning against St. Anne’s was very uncommon.
“From there, people started knowing me, coaches started recognizing me, and my circle in the field of football started growing.”
Bhavneet started being called for open tournaments in different states. Gradually he moved up the ranks and played Federation Nation at the sub-junior and junior levels. In November 2021, he played at the senior level.
Fitness and Football
Sport and fitness go hand in hand but Bhavneet was introduced to the idea of being fit by anime characters from Dragon Ball Z and Goku. These shows were trending and Bhavneet, like many others, wanted fit bodies like these characters. As he was working towards getting this body that he aspired for, he met his hero and role model- Ronaldo .
“Around 2008 when I watched Ronaldo play, I was completely taken aback. He was amazing and so strong. He ran so fast. It was like a craze. My friends and I got the neighbour's wifi password and we would watch his videos whenever we found the time. I had found a purpose in life.”
Bhavneet wanted a body like Ronaldo’s but he didn’t know how to. So he started watching tutorials and workout videos on YouTube. He didn’t have the required equipment, so he started practising with bricks, ball bearings, etc. He even bought his own football and started taking it to school for practice.
With time, Bhavneet became more and more aware and started following a workout and practice routine along with paying equal attention to his diet.
The Role of Social Media
Recently, Bhavneet has started using social media to share his practice and workout videos with his friends and followers on Instagram. His friends tell him that they get motivated to start working out and playing football by looking at his Instagram.
All these words of praise and support have helped Bhavneet grow personally and professionally.
The children from Bhavneet’s neighbourhood take my football and play. They tell me,
"Bhanu bhaiya ki tarah khelna hai."
“They have given me confidence and made me believe that there is nothing to be scared of. I feel more confident telling my story to others.”
It was an Instagram a that got Bhavneet to participate in SocialBoat’s fitness challenge which has increased his workout time and decreased his rest period. He has become comparatively more active.
The Road Ahead
As for what the future holds, Bhaveeet wishes to fulfill his long-standing dream and aspiration of playing for India. But he is also working towards securing a stable job through his exceptional skills in football.