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On Father's Day, India Defender Adil Khan Recalls Family Challenges of Sportspersons

Adil Khan (Photo Credit: AIFF)

Adil Khan (Photo Credit: AIFF)

Adil Khan opened up on 'emotional' experience of balancing fatherhood and football.

India football team defender, Adil Khan, on Sunday said sportspersons often had to make sacrifices and “forego the simple pleasures of life" in order to maximise their performance on the pitch.

Adil realised this when he was playing during the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season inside the bio-bubble and got the news that he had become a father.

“I had to remain in a bio-bubble in Goa for the league but my wife was in Mumbai when she was pregnant, and she had to manage a lot of things by herself," Adil told aiff.com on Father’s Day. “No matter what happens, we have a contract with our clubs and have to respect that."

It was in February when Adil’s club FC Goa was playing against Mumbai City FC that he received a message after the match that his wife had gone into labour.

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“I remember I was so excited and nervous at the same time. On the football pitch, I was just doing my duty but this was something different. We both had obviously wanted to be there when it happened but I couldn’t. I remember staying up all night — I called everyone after the match — my parents, in-laws, friends. I was in constant touch with my wife and her doctor, too. It was quite difficult to be stuck in a room in Goa when your wife is giving birth," Adil recalled.

“There’s always a level of anxiety involved in such situations. And with God’s grace, all went well and we were blessed with a baby boy. I can’t describe the feeling. I got on a video call as soon as it was possible to see my son. I was sad that I couldn’t hold him in my arms but I was really happy to see him at the same time. Can’t describe the emotion," he said.

“This was the moment that I thought, I’d make him a No. 9 (India football player), if I can, in the future. “After (Sunil) Chhetri bhai, I hope he can become a striker and break more records."

While most footballers went back home after the end of the season, Adil only had a few days to meet his son in person before he had to join the India team camp in Dubai.

Even after returning from Dubai, the defender had to report to his club FC Goa for their AFC Champions League matches, which also took place in Goa. However, the family was allowed to be together inside the bubble, and Adil could finally spend some quality time with his son.

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first published:June 20, 2021, 17:21 IST