Jeakson Singh Thaunaojam might well have written his name into Indian football folklore when he scored the country's first ever World Cup goal across all age groups on Monday.
He rose highest to thump in a header from Sanjeev Stalin's cross in the 82nd minute of the group game against Colombia to record an equaliser. Though India lost the game 1-2, the goal will be cherished by the Indian footballing fraternity for years to come.
So what do you know about Jeakson Singh? Here's some interesting facts about him:
1) Jeakson Singh hails from Manipur but is fluent in Punjabi, given that he spent his formative years in Chandigarh at the Chandigarh Football Academy (CFA), nearly 2700 kms away from his hometown. The teenager was just 11-year-old when he left his hometown in Thoubal district to travel all the way to Chandigarh to work on his football education.
2) Jeakson is a defensive midfielder by position and his early introduction to the sport came from his father who was a coach. It was his elder brother who recommended the youngster towards the direction of the CFA due to its high-level coaching.
3) Jeakson is the cousin brother of Amarjit Singh Kiyam, the India U17 team skipper.
4) After several years at the CFA, the lure of testing himself in the U-16 I-League and eventually the U-17 World Cup meant the Manipur boy made the switch to the Minerva Punjab FC Academy in the same city.
5) However, when the preparatory team for the Under-17 World Cup was being put together in 2015, Jeakson’s CFA teammates Amarjit and Sanjeev would be selected in the AIFF trials held at Goa but the defensive midfielder would miss out.
6) But the youngster would not give up on his World Cup dreams. He got down to the hard grind at Minerva Punjab and formed a crucial part of the club’s academy team which would go on to win the AIFF U-15 & U-16 Youth League titles two years in a row.
7) Jackson's chance to eventually join the India Under-17 squad though would come by providence. German coach Nicolai Adam, who had been given the original charge of leading the squad in the World Cup, departed under a cloud of allegations at the start of the current year.
8) Minerva Punjab had won the 2017 U16 Youth I-League at Mumbai by defeating Ozone FC 3-0 final with Jeakson scoring a long-range stunner early on. He and several of his teammates caught the attention of Abhishek Yadav, who decided to invite them for a match against the U17 World Cup team.
9) Jeakson would shine in his side’s 1-0 victory over the World Cup-bound team and his performance was enough to catch the eye of Luis Norton de Matos and team COO Abhishek Yadav. He was then called up to join Norton’s boys along with three other players from the Minerva team.
10) Jeakson, an ambidextrous player, has already featured in Minerva Punjab's senior team in the Durand Cup and DSK Cup.
Now the confident lad has another feather in his cap and it will be one he will cherish for his lifetime, along with a nation.