Budding girl footballers get a helping hand in Jharkhand

Two other girls of the same village, Rajni Ekka and Jyoti Lingi, who were also interested in playing football, met with similar resistance form their parents.

Three years on, not only are their wishes fulfilled, but they are also responsible for the 3-0 win of the Kinni Women's team over neighbouring Barkatha team.

The change in the lives of Sangita, Rajni and Jyoti was made possible by the corporate social responsibility programme of Jindal Steel and Power Limited which has also changed the attitude of the villagers towards sports.

The JSPL, which proposed to set up a 6 mtpa greenfield unit at Patratu in Hazaribagh, about 60 km from here, is keen to promote sporting talent in villages around the project.
"The JSPL selected Ekka, Kujur and 15 other girls earlier this year as part of its CSR and put them under coach Basudev Yadav from Maharashtra's Auranagabad," Senior Manager (JSPL-CSR), V P Pandey, told PTI.

Pandey said he had talks with the director of Sports Authority of India and urged him to consider some of the girls so that they could get exposure.

He said that director had assured him that he would visit Kinni and watch the performance of the girls. "I have always wanted to play football, but did not get a chance till this company came to our village and picked me for the women’s team," said Rajni.
Motivated by Deepika Kumari’s double gold medal at the Commonwealth games, young tribal girls believe that with proper financial support they could also bring laurels and at the same time get a job.

"We hope to emulate Deepika Kumari and other tribal girls from the state representing the nation in the hockey team," said Jyoti.

Asked why they chose football when Jharkhand was known for its talent in archery and hockey, the tribal girls replied "Our build also suits football. Though the path is long and arduous we are focused in making it to the state's women's football team."

The principal of the government school at the village, Rohan Munda, said, "Three years ago there was nothing to cheer about for the children in the village. With JSPL, sports talent is also emerging from this tiny village."

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