But for the 14-year-old, who lives in one of the world's poorest neighbourhoods, the Bombay Port Trust slum in Mumbai, football has become such a passion that he recently scraped together enough rupees to buy his own pair of goalkeeping gloves.
"He's one of our most talented players," said Vijay Dange, his coach. "He's just like all the kids here. They didn't know anything about football before. A lot of them couldn't have told you whether a football was round or square. All they knew about was cricket. But now they all love football and they just want to play it more and more."
Shah is one of 18,000 boys and girls living in the slums and on the streets of Mumbai to have benefited from the Magic Bus programme - an extraordinary charity initiative set up by an English former public schoolboy and backed by the Premier League that uses football to transform the lives of youngsters untouched by the growth in the Indian economy.
Each week, thousands of deprived children, some of them institutionalised orphans and rescued sex workers, are offered two-hour football sessions which, while emphasising fun and recreation, use the game to impart life lessons such as discipline, communication skills, teamwork and health. Kit, boots and shin-pads are provided free of charge.
In the slums of Bombay Port, the results have gone far beyond the football pitch, a private club ground that used to be off-limits to slum children until the charity did a deal with the owners.
Before the arrival of Magic Bus, only 40 per cent of the children attended school, the rest earning money by selling vegetables or diving in the filthy local river in search of scrap metal. Now the figure is 85 per cent.
A month ago, after parents were invited to experience the game for themselves in a community tournament, residents got together to clear a huge, insect-infested rubbish dump from the centre of the slum. It is now an open space where the local children can practise.
The Magic Bus programme has won high praise from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who visited it in January, and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, who spent three days working for it as a volunteer this year. It has also formed a partnership with UK Sport and Unicef to expand into Delhi and Hyderabad next year to reach as many as 40,000 children.
For Magic Bus founder Matthew Spacie, a former Felsted School pupil who came to India in the mid-Nineties as chief operating officer of the travel company Cox and Kings, the success of the project has highlighted the power of sport to harness potential. He came up with the idea while playing rugby at a private Mumbai club and noticed how street kids would gather outside to watch. He negotiated with the club to be allowed to bring them inside and offer them coaching and was stunned by their transformation.
"The epiphany for me was seeing all the clichéd stuff you hear about with sport — the self-esteem, the discipline, the focus — coming true," he said. "These kids were changing before my eyes. That really stirred me and I realised we were building something quite powerful."
Spacie, who was made an MBE in the last New Year's Honours List, has also set up an outdoor pursuit centre for deprived children a 90-minute drive from Mumbai - the bus trips there spawned the name 'Magic Bus' - but his main goal is a self-sustaining football programme with the most talented children graduating to become mentors.
"In the early days, sport as a development tool was not really accepted and people would laugh at it and say it was trivial," Spacie said. "Now organisations like Unicef are saying, 'Wow, this really does work'. The absolute end-game is millions of children benefiting from this. That's what we're building towards."