Woman footballer now FIFA commentator

Indian woman footballer Dalima Chhibber says the emotions, involved in the game, are what keep her alive.

Dalima Chhiber started her journey in sports when she was barely 14.

Indian women’s football star Dalima Chhibber began playing the sport when she was barely 14 years. Her journey to stardom has been fraught with challenges but Dalima feels it has strengthened her from within and made her stronger. Dalima is a panellist on Sony Pictures Network for the ongoing 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.  In an interview with Metrolife, Dalima talks about what keeps her going and the challenges involved in the sport.

Did you always want to be a footballer?

My father was an athlete and he wanted me to take to athletics because the recognition is better there since it is an individual sport and not a team game. But things changed when I got picked up to play in the under-14 national championship, representing India. Wearing the Indian badge on the jersey was a proud moment. I knew that I would make it big in football and that’s when I made up my mind.

What are the challenges you face in this sport? 

Making a career in this sport is the toughest part. There is no financial support and sustaining it can be a challenge. We are forced to find alternative ways to make a living. Also, the recognition and appreciation in this sport are hard to come by. 

Is it easy for women to stand out in this field? 

I wouldn’t say it been easy at all. It has been a very bumpy ride for me, but now since the women’s football has been in the limelight, it is easier for footballers to lead people and encourage them. The situation is slowly changing and things are looking up, but it is taking its own time. 

Do you have to work extra hard if have to stay at the top?

Football is physically a very taxing game. You have to stay on the field for one-and-half hours or even more. I start training at 5 in the morning and sometimes train late into the night. You have to train hard to be able to get the best from the game.  

What is the best thing about this sport? 

The emotions involved in this game keep me alive. There are so many people involved in this sport and the emotions are different when we win and different when we lose. The rush that comes with the game is unparalleled. 

Do movies made around sports and related subjects inspire women to join sports?

I believe it does. Mary Kom’s life and struggle to get to the top is an inspiration for not just women but for everybody.

Women in sports battle with a lot of pressure from all quarters -- society, family, marital issues etc. Movies on sports personalities inspire women to keep at their passion and not give up. 

Sports apart, what kind of music do you listen to?

I don’t have any favourites. My music tastes depend on my mood.

However, my current favourite is ‘Teri Mitti’ from Kesari. It’s a breezy song. I also listen to a lot of old songs, especially when I go on long drives. It takes the stress off. 

Do you get time to read? Any favourite author?

I read a lot in my free time. I don’t really have a favourite author, but I can’t get enough of science thrillers. 

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