The 25-year-old Abhishek once entered his zone on the pitch, matches like a 'hungry hawk'. For the opposition ranks, he resembles as a source of anxiety. For his aggressive nature in the field, he usually gets special security from the opponents to defend. But he often tranquilizes them with misleading movements in the rival box. Abhishek's body stature gives him an added advantage so that he can deal with forward pass balls. It is so obvious that most of his goals come from headers.
Former England coach Stephen Constantine, enlisted newcomer Abhishek as a super-sub in the 2002 LG Cup in Vietnam. Under Stephen Constantine Indian football showed a quick look of a revival. In the LG cup, Abhishek emerged as the discovery of Indian soccer. Abhishek is set to score more goals for his team. But it is quick to force out the hero tag. "It is unfair for an individual player to get all the credit when the entire team chips in," he says. "As soon as Mahindra United goalkeeper Sandeep Nandy releases the ball, the whole team goes into attack mode and each individual in defence, midfield and the forward line plays as one entity."
Abhishek has come a relatively great height way since his soccer adventure story took off at Don Bosco School in Matunga. Abhishek was born on 10th June 1980 in Kanpur, India. Thereafter the Yadav family moved to New Delhi before dad HN Prasad, a distinguished javelin thrower employed with Central Excise, was transferred to Mumbai. He was studying at the fifth grade and was transfer to Don Bosco, which is one of the strongholds in the local football school league. At Don Bosco, Adip Kenkre, Central Railway chief coach used to drilled the basics into youngsters. As recalled by Abhishek " Kenkre sir was responsible for me taking up football. " While remembering his days at the Matunga School Abhishek says, "He used to make the game fun and was my favourite teacher. He taught us about the psychology of the game. He ensured that I continued paying after my school days."
Kenkre also calls back telling the 11-year-old that he would one day play for India. On his word, "Abhishek, even at that age, was the tallest in the group, with a much higher IQ level than the rest. He picked up the game faster than the rest because he was intelligent and understood instructions." Kenkre has started a football academy under his own name.
The coach was so exhilarated with the Abhisheks's goals coring ability. Kenkre made a trip to Goa just to experience the ability of Abhishek. Abhishek at that time was leading Mumbai University in the 1999 inter-university championship. "I went to see him play even though I was not coaching the side," says Kenkre. "He scored maybe two dozen goals. I was impressed."
Abhishek also lovingly remembers Bhasak Maity who was the Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers coach, who seize quickly and easily the youngster after a practice match at their Chamber ground. For the 1997-98 local season, when the contract papers were drawn, he was enjoyably surprised. "I was asked if the (signing) amount was enough," he smiles. "I didn't know what to say... I could not believe I was being paid to play football." Harish Rao, former Mahindra United manager in the year 2002 recruited Yadav and also praised for the youngster. "Though he was playing alongside experienced players like Mohammed Najeeb. Raman Vijayan, and Abbas Ali Rizvi, he emerged as the top score that season," Harish remembers. In that season the team won the Harwood league, the Nadkarni Cup, and the Durand Cup.
Abhishek is a Political Science graduate from Ruia College and is now halfway through his MA. Due to football engagements, he has been unable to appear for it though he has twice enrolled for his second-year examination. "I am hoping to get injured someday," he laughs. "Then I will be able to finish my MA." His parents to pursue whatever he was passionate about, while his brother went on to become a pilot and his sister a doctor, remains content playing football, buck up Abhishek. "My uncle once took me for (cricket) nets at the Oval Maidan," he remembers. "I did a little bowling, and people around were impressed with my speed. But I enjoyed football more.'
His favorites goals are the LG Cup 2002 final match in which they were the winner against Vietnam. Earlier Bhutia scored a bitstock and Abhishek attained the third at the fag end of the match, India were 0-2 down. Since 1970 Asian Games bronze medal, the LG Cup was India's first major title. Another favourite goal of Abhishek was the golden goal against Pakistan in the third place playoff in the 2003 SAF Cup in Dhaka. His favorite players are Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy. His pastimes are: he enjoys long drives in his new car, a Honda City. "I bought it with my own money," he says. He likes to watch movies and surf the net for information on football and hockey. "I have many hockey player friends,'"he says. Abhishek Yadav likes food: Non-vegetarian, preferably chicken. According to him, his mom's chicken curry rates the best. He strongly hates losing, even in practice, washing clothes, and packing. "Ask Venky, who is usually my roommate," he says with a smile. Presently he plays for the Mahindra United club in the position Striker.
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