Meet Afshan Ashiq — the girl from Kashmir once infamous as a stone-pelter. Now she is the captain of Jammu and Kashmir’s women’s football team.
Afshan is a known face on the Srinagar’s streets. Once known as an irate student leader, today she is the poster girl for every football fan in Jammu and Kashmir. Afshan has come a long way and now is at the center stage of a dream career. She recalls the days when her picture went viral in the national media as a stone pelter. Currently, the captain guards the goalpost tenaciously and believes that miracles do happen in life. In Afshan’s words,
“My life has changed forever. I want to be an achiever and do something to make the state and the nation proud.”
Recently, the 21-year-old met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and in her own words she does not want to “look back”, NDTV reported. The team had a 30-minute long meeting with Singh.
Her team comprises with 22 members.”When we told the home minister that Jammu and Kashmir lacks sports infrastructure, he immediately called up the Chief Minister (Mehbooba Mufti) and requested her to do the needful to help us,” she added.
She further claimed that the youngsters in Kashmir have all the talent in this world and lack a platform that could acknowledge their potential. The team explained to Mr Singh about the necessity of infrastructure including training facilities and how ardently the youth there needs to hold on to them.
“The minister also told us that Rs 100 crore had already been sanctioned (under the Prime Minister’s special package) for the state,” the captain of the CM’s-XI team, who defends the 24-foot-long and 8-foot-high goal post for her team, told PTI.
“With proper infrastructure in place, the youth can take up sports to nourish their talents and no one can brainwash anyone. No one will join terrorism or indulge in stone pelting,” team manager Tsering Angmo said.
The home minister later tweeted:
Met the young and energetic girls of J&K’s first ever women football team. They are highly motivated & driven when it comes to football. Playing the role of new age ‘Gender Benders’ these girls are setting an example for others to follow. I wish them success and a great future. pic.twitter.com/3ZlMwhzkXm
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) December 5, 2017
According to reports, there’s a plan to make a film on Afshan’s life, highs and lows, and to bring out the inspirational transformation as the team’s goalkeeper who is studying B.A. in Srinagar.
Feature Image Credit: NDTV