2020 The Lost Year: Dreams lie in tatters after cancellation of FIFA U-17 Women’s WC


Earlier this 12 months earlier than the pandemic, when the Indian ladies’s probables for the FIFA U-17 World Cup travelled to Turkey for friendlies towards Romania, Naorem Priyangka Devi returned dwelling with a costume for her mom Pombi Devi. With her crew set to play within the (now-cancelled) World Cup this November, she had hoped her mom might put on the costume to one in all India’s matches cheering for her. Pombi works as a tailor supporting a household of six, and this was to be the second she could possibly be within the stands and soak within the heat glowing highlight that comes with being a proud mum or dad of an India participant.

With FIFA deciding to cancel the U-17 World Cup, Devi is one in all 27 out of 35 probables, who will now miss out on being from a choose group of countries at a soccer World Cup, albeit by being hosts. For one, this batch won’t make the 2022 version with age ineligibility (ruling out these born in 2003 and 2004). At any charge, India hardly has the pedigree or system at the moment to qualify for an additional junior World Cup until they host one.

Watching Naorem Priyangka Devi (centre) play within the nationwide jersey would have been the reward for her mom who stitches garments. (Express photograph)

“The love for football kept me going all these years. My father does not work and my mother stitches clothes in the village earning Rs 250-350 daily. To see them watching me play in the Indian jersey in the World Cup would have been the reward for my mother. And that has been the biggest disappointment for me individually apart from missing the chance to play in the World Cup in front of home crowds,” shares Priyangka.

Her destiny is just like eight gamers from Haryana and 7 from Manipur and Jharkhand.

Anshika U 17 Anshika is a goal-keeper from Haryana. (AIFF)

Haryana teen Anshika was one in all six goal-keepers within the remaining probables, additionally India’s keeper after they gained silver at U16 Asian Cup in 2016. Hailing from Bhambhewa village in Jind district, the first-choice custodian in friendlies towards Romania, was initially eager on wrestling however selected soccer as she most well-liked a crew sport. The lanky keeper had been coaching underneath Nigerian coach Precious Dede, a 4-tie Cupper and thrice Olympian, who was sharpening her one on one conditions, air-ball assortment and sideways air dives. “As a goal-keeper, it would’ve been a special feeling to play in a world cup. We saw the incredible atmosphere during the men’s U-17 World Cup so a similar setting would’ve been very nice,” shared Anshika, who idolises Indian males’s goal-keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Coach Anil Kumar, who has been coaching Anshika since her childhood, might sense the frustration in his trainee and it took 2-3 days for the teen to overlook concerning the disappointment. “I told her it wasn’t happening only to her but to the whole team and it’s nobody’s fault. I also told her that there have been players who have done well at the junior level but not so well at seniors. Our target is the senior team and to become one of the best goalkeepers,” shares Kumar.

One of the celebrities of India’s U-17 crew towards Romania was B Mariyammal from Sankari close to Salem in Tamil Nadu, who began enjoying soccer on the insistence of her brother.

Mariyammal U 17 B Mariyammal is from Sankari close to Salem in Tamil Nadu. (AIFF)

“I was interested in athletics but my brother played for the village school and asked me to join so we could get some extra footballs for training. Apart from managing our small farm, my parents work in a garment factory in Salem. When I first went to Bhutan for the SAFF Cup, my parents didn’t even know about a passport. But they told me whatever I do, they will always pray for me,” shared Mariyyamal.

“Bohot disappointing tha. I remember when I played for the Indian team earlier, my father would save the clippings from newspaper and even though they have no idea about football, they proudly showed them to whoever visited us. My parents have not watched me play ever. They would have come to see us play in the World Cup at one of the venues and that would’ve been the biggest memory for them. I have promised them that every one of us will give our best in the Asia qualifiers next year and get to 2022 U-20 World Cup in Costa Rica so they can watch us on television. This thought keeps me motivated,” shared Mariyammal.

Once-in-a-lifetime expertise

Daughter of a small candy and snacks store proprietor in Varanasi, Jyoti Kumari, whose three sisters too play soccer, shifted base to Cuttack the place she was chosen within the SAI trials. The defender has been attending on-line periods by coach Thomas Dennerby, who guided Sweden ladies’s crew to a third-place end in FIFA World Cup in 2011. Dennerby believed that enhancing on a regular basis might maintain away the frustration of lacking the direct probability to play in a world cup. “We were working on developing passing-heavy style of play in defense instead of clearing the ball straightaway. It helped us understand that we need to keep improving every day,” says Jyoti.

Jyoti U 17 Jyoti Kumari is from Varanasi. (AIFF)

But the probables had been most stung by the frustration of not with the ability to play in entrance of dwelling crowds. “While playing against any international team at any stadium is motivating, playing in front of home crowd and big stadiums in a World Cup cannot be matched by any other experience,” stated Priyangka, who idolises Bem Bem Devi and had guided India to a 1-0 win together with her purpose within the second pleasant towards Romania.

It was the lads’s U-17 World Cup of 2017 that noticed Amarjit Singh Kiyam (Jamshedpur FC), Aniket Jadhav (Jamshedpur FC), Dheeraj Singh (ATK Mohun Bagan), Suresh Wangjam (Bangalore FC) and the primary Indian to attain a FIFA World Cup purpose Jeakson Singh (Kerela Blasters), make common ISL appearances earlier than their twentieth birthday. For the ladies, who don’t have any large league to show to, the one probability of a brush with top-tier fame, additionally vamoozed away.





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