Shayne D’Cunha: Bombay to Blacktown

Born in Mumbai, Shayne D’Chuna has green and gold in his sights

There are not too many sports in the world or this Great Southern Land of Australia that can meld the many diverse cultures together like football.

Rather than describe football as the social conduit of cultures, I like to think of it as the high-end optical fibre than connects us all through the wonder of the round leather ball.

There are many young footballers whose backgrounds, stories of adversity and struggles have led to a strong sense of persistence and deep will to achieve results through a lot of sweat and tears along the way.

Enter Shayne D-Cunha whose own story is one that many Australians can relate to. Shayne was born to hard working Indian parents in one of the busiest cities in the world, Mumbai. The young defender-s journey from a young boy to being selected in a Young Socceroos squad is one worth telling.

At the tender age of four, Shayne-s parents made the giant but seemingly easy decision to leave Mumbai and commence a brand new life in the beautiful harbour city of Sydney. It was a decision that some 13 years on they are still relishing.

Australia Day means a lot to most Australians and for the D-Cunha family it is an important time for reflection and to appreciate the simple things that their chosen country delivers each and every day.

Quality of life, weather, relaxed nature of the people and a safe and healthy environment with which to live are just a few things they hold dear.

“The sacrifices were huge for my parents but they soon made plenty of friends through other families. The lifestyle, freedoms and opportunities we are able to enjoy are endless in this wonderful city and country,” said Shayne.

“I have returned to Mumbai on a few occasions and it is immediately apparent that I could never have enjoyed the same freedoms, rights and sporting pursuits I-ve enjoyed from growing up here. For the youth in Mumbai the focus is squarely on study and unfortunately football doesn-t sit high on the priority list.

“My father and his brothers were all handy footballers back in the day and I guess their love and football DNA is alive and kicking on in me thankfully!”

While hockey is unofficially known as India-s national sport, it never appeared on Shayne-s sporting radar growing up and apart from a brief dabble in junior cricket it was clear from the outset that football is and always will be top of the tree.

Not surprisingly Shayne-s biggest source of inspiration is his tight family unit as he sets his sights on gaining that all important professional football contract with the Wanderers.

“There any many challenges that come with chasing a sporting dream but having the support of family is most important to get over the challenges. There can be many high and lows along the journey but family always keeps me grounded and focused.

“To realise my ultimate goal of one day playing for the Socceroos, I know it comes down to working hard at every session and doing everything right on and off the pitch.”

When asked who his favourite players are here and abroad, Shayne didn-t need to look to far from the Wanderer-s dressing room with Matthew Spiranovic easily commanding his attention and admiration.

“Matthew has a wonderful understanding of the game and as a centre-back has tremendous vision and positional awareness on the pitch.

“I certainly love watching his game to focus on the areas of my game that need improvement.

Away from the game it is the simple pleasures that help Shayne relax and unwind from the day-to-day schedule of football life.

“Playing my acoustic guitar is the ultimate tool to take me away from solely thinking about football.

“As important as it is to put the ultimate effort into all my sessions, the down time should be relished and used to refresh the body physically as well as mentally, and music really helps me do that!”

For now the task for Shayne is to continue training and playing hard each week with his Western Sydney Wanderers team in the Foxtel NYL.

“The great thing about the game of football is that you share the whole journey with great mates who all understand what it takes to do well.”

Image Credit: Quarrie Sports Photography