WOMEN'S FOOTBALL - NIVEDA MANJUNATH ON PLAYING FROM THE AGE OF 8
In school, we played many games and football was one of them. With the years I chose table tennis and football to specialise in
Middle school teacher
I'm from Bangalore, I've been into sports all my life and I love playing and the outdoors.
From what age are you playing Football?
From the age of 8.
What made you choose Football?
In school, we played many games and football was one of them. With the years I chose table tennis and football to specialise in. Football, because I think all my friends loved it too and so did I. We discussed the game had league matches etc. Also being a big fan of Beckham then Ronaldinho and finally now Lionel Messi.
What is your biggest personal achievement so far?
I played football for the St. Joseph's arts and science girls team. TT for Bangalore University
Any funny or interesting story from the field that you can remember?
There was this one time I played with the guys being the only girl in the group. They asked me to be a goalkeeper and I agreed. Didn't realise how hard their kicks would be so I cooly stuck out my hand here and there to block. This one kick was so hard, I blocked it but ended up getting a ligament tear. I got a nice lecture back home from my parents.
What is it like for a girl to play football in India?
Most often it is difficult to find girls who are equally interested and who love the game, to form a team or to play with. Even the 5 a side space that we have attracts mainly guys and I end up playing only with boys. It is difficult to link up with girls across who are willing to come regularly to play. The Indian girl's team is amazing now I think I follow them on Instagram to keep myself updated. It has taken these many years for football itself to be taken seriously and so I'm not sure how long it will take til girls get equal encouragement, coaches, facilities etc.
Do you feel any kind of gender disparity in the game?
Well not really however most often girls manage to form a chat niche amongst mixed teams.
What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced in your journey in terms of unavailability of gear etc.
Not much I think for people who can spend from their own pocket it's not so difficult to get studs, shin guards etc. It's difficult to find space to play in like grounds etc.
What would you like to tell other girls to encourage them to play the sport?
I feel that it's always nice to play a sport. You may not excel in it but even to play it is a hobby, it will give you a lot of peace of mind and keep the body fit. It lifts your spirits and helps you enjoy. Especially team games.