Dilip Basurai is helping school kids learn football in Maoist-hit Bastar region in Chhattisgarh. The 70-year-old is so passionate about football that he has spent all his life teaching the world’s most followed sport in Pankhanjore.

Everyone in Pankhanjore calls Basurai ‘Barda’, but to school kids, he is ‘known as ‘football-vale guruji’. Apparently, Dilip used to be a supporter of Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan as he was a fan of legendary Chuni Goswami.

Basurai understands the condition of Pankhanjore that resides in the forest belt. He teaches the sport to allow kids an escape route from the rhythmic Maoist violence. The disturbance in the area is well recorded by the Chhattisgarh police. “Youth who were not influenced by Maoism is mainly because of football,” said Dilip Basurai as quoted by the HindustanTimes. It seems football helps shape the mindset of these children.

Dilip has even used his pension allowance to buy footballs for the tribal children. “There are a total of 96 school-level teams of which more than 40 are girls’ teams. What is shocking is that at the school level, girls are more interested in football and they play very well,” added Basurai as quoted by the HindustanTimes.

People in Pakhanjore read football news in the morning, while they watch matches on the television during the night. The football fever has taken the region by storm as it encourages positivity amidst regular Maoist attacks.