Alumni Speak

Ronaldo has given a booster shot to the Serie-A, says football editor and Apeejay alumnus

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Kaustubh Pandey, an alumnus of Apeejay School Pitampura, has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of http://www.getfootballnewsitaly.com

When he was finishing his class 12, Kaustubh Pandey, an alumnus of Apeejay School Pitampura, was anointed ‘football writer’ by one of his classmates. Little did he know then that a serendipitously named tag at the school farewell will set him thinking about making a career in writing about ‘The Beautiful Game.’
“By then, many people in my school had begun to appreciate my writings on football. But it did make me wonder whether I was destined for a career in journalism or sports writing.”
As it turned out, Pandey would go on to complete a Bachelors in Journalism, from Christ College, Bengaluru, followed by an MA in Sports Journalism from the University of Salford in the United Kingdom.
Earlier this month, after a few years of writing for sports websites, Pandey was appointed Editor-in-Chief of http://www.getfootballnewsitaly.com. He recalls he caught the writing bug early. “I began writing when I was in class 3. At that point, I was expressing myself with non-fiction and writing about the world of animation. But over the years after my class 10, I chose humanities partly because I enjoyed the world of literature and writing.”
He equally credits his parents and teachers at Apeejay Pitampura for sparking his interest in writing and encouraging him. “Besides my parents – father Vijay Shanker Pandey and mother Lalita Pandey – teachers at Apeejay Pitampura were my pillars of support. I must thank my teachers Shivani Verma and Savita Panhotra who encouraged me in particular in class 6 and class 11 respectively.”
Pandey began watching sports on television along with his parents who are bona-fide cricket fans. “Gradually I began veering towards football, which is a global sport with psychological and philosophical roots,” he says.
While at Bengaluru for his undergraduate studies, Pandey says he continued a steadfast focus on doing what he enjoyed the most. “Even before sports journalism was introduced in our sixth semester, I had already written so much for sports websites,” he recalls with a smile.
Despite being in Bengaluru, the cradle of football talent and the base of Bengaluru FC led by Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri, Pandey concedes he didn’t follow Indian football much, unlike his other classmates. “In the first year itself I had begun approaching websites abroad offering to write for them. And when one of them, Forza Italian Football, responded to my request in the affirmative, I was thrilled. My objective at that point was to learn as much as I could about football. I can confidently say nobody can claim to know everything about football and I am still a student of the game.”

Pandey has a mantra for those youngsters who want to make a career in sports writing.
“It is not an orthodox field. One must look at constantly improving oneself. So, never be overly satisfied with what you are. Keep expressing yourself even if you think not many people are reading what you are putting out. Young writers need to be consistent with what they are doing. Persistence finally pays off in helping you create an identity for yourself.”
Apart from iconic football commentator and writer Novy Kapadia, Pandey says a few other international sports writers have left an abiding impression on him. “These include English sports writer and a broadcaster James Horncaste, who specialises in European and Italian football and Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, who has earned the sobriquet of the ‘God of writing on European football,’ particularly club transfers,” he reveals.
We decided to pick Pandey’s brains on the recent victory of the Italian football team in the Euros.


Winning the Euro Cup this year has been very special for the Azzurri, as the Italian national football team is known, says Pandey. “For Italian football the victory means the world and a coming together of many stories. It is a culmination of the hard work of many players, for instance, who were playing in the second division and the third division in the Italian league. They turned into household names overnight after the triumph. It is also a vindication for coaches Roberto Mancini — whose career has seen a number of ups and downs — as well as Gianluca Vialli, who beat enormous odds including cancer to come out on the winning side.”
The football fortunes of Italy have come full circle since 2018, when the proud nation and four-time World Cup champions could not even qualify for the biggest sporting spectacle. “Mancini and Vialli have transformed a bunch of brilliant individuals who didn’t exhibit great team spirit to a team of champions who work like a well-oiled cohesive unit,” he says.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s stint with Juventus also helped put the spotlight back on Italian football the way a certain Diego Armando Maradona had put Napoli on the world map. “Although he was a big star even when he was with Manchester United, Ronaldo coming to Serie-A provided it a booster shot like never before,” says Pandey.
In next year’s World Cup to take place in Qatar, Pandey expects England to do very well, apart from Italy and France.
Going forward, Pandey wants to immerse himself in gathering more knowledge about Indian football and its fan culture. “Despite the time differences, fans in India stay up late supporting their favourite teams from across the world, I want to capture this passion in my writings in the future.”
Although he did play football as a youngster, Pandey says he was not among the best players in his school. “Maybe, since I could not stand out on the football pitch, I decided I must stand out in sports journalism and writing about the sport,” he says. Well, he is more than living up to his promise.

“It is not an orthodox field. One must look at constantly improving oneself. So, never be overly satisfied with what you are. Keep expressing yourself even if you think not many people are reading what you are putting out. Young writers need to be consistent with what they are doing. Persistence finally pays off in helping you create an identity for yourself.”

-Kaustubh Pandey

Aasheesh Sharma is a seasoned journalist with an experience of more than 25 years spread over newspapers, news agencies, magazines and television. He has worked in leadership positions in media groups such as Hindustan Times, India Today, Times of India, NDTV, UNI and IANS. He is a published author and his essay on the longest train journey in India was included in an anthology of writings on the railways, brought out by Rupa Publications. As the Editor of Apeejay Newsroom, he is responsible for coverage of the latest news and developments in the Apeejay institutions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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