Maharashtra’s Anju Turambekar is an impeccable example of how one can turn dreams into reality through self belief. The 29-year-old has become the youngest woman to become an AFC A licence coach. In other words, she has achieved the highest level of coaching certification issued by the Asian Football Confederation.
Turambekar is in charge of All India Football Federation’s grassroots development. She participated in the AFC course in Thimphu, Bhutan, from December 18 to January 13, the result of which was declared on March 23.
Now, with this prestigious degree, Turambekar is qualified to coach any of the top teams in the country
The footballer believes she should rather work at the grassroots level as this stage holds utmost importance when it comes to the game’s development in the country.
In an interview with TOI, Turambekar said, “As a grassroots instructor of AIFF, my job is to coach coaches. As part of the AFC A licence course, I learnt what it takes to run a professional club and what it takes to be a player at the highest level. I use that perspective to try and teach the coaches better. Grassroots are the foundations of football so if we get that correct, our country will be able to produce world-class players.”
Never give up on a dream
Turambekar did not always dream of becoming a coach. That came much later. As a young girl residing in Bekanal, a small village in Kolhapur, she only wanted to play football. And yes, against her parents’ wishes. They weren’t happy with the idea of their daughter advancing in the field of football. They simply expected her to help them with work on the farm, which she chose not to. In fact, she ran away to carve her own destiny.
After coming to Mumbai, she played for a local club. Soon after, she was selected to represent the state team. She even captained the side on several occasions. However, the passionate footballer realised that it was not possible for her to play forever. She then decided she would do something to stay in the game she loved so dearly — therein evolved the idea to take up coaching.
“I always had a dream to play for my country but due to some circumstances in life I had to start working for livelihood. At a time when I was working and playing for the state and local level, I realised that if I could not continue playing, I needed to focus more on coaching. The transformation happened and I started to enjoy it. I travelled to The Netherlands in 2010 for the International Coaching Course and it proved to be my turning point,” she told TOI
Coaching teams since 2010
Since 2010, Turambekar has coached several men’s and women’s teams in Mumbai. She then joined the AIFF in its grassroots development division. She went on to lead the programme in span of three years. Having travelled throughout the country, she has been interacting with numerous children and been training the coaches.
She said –
“I feel like I’m living a dream. When I started coaching, I never imagined it would be so much fun,” – Turambekar
Here’s to more representation of people like Anju Turambekar who remind the world time and again, the importance of dreams and self-belief.
Featured image source: Anju Turambekar (@anju22star) | Twitter
Bhawna Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV