International footballer Sangeeta Soren was in news recently as it was discovered that she had resorted to working as a daily wage worker due to financial crisis in the wake of the second wave of coronavirus lockdown. The 20-year-old, who has represented India at U17 and U18 level in international competitions, has now got a job as a coach at ‘Football Day Boarding Centre for Girls’, soon to be set up in Dhanbad by the State Government.
The struggling footballer was compelled to work as a labourer at a Brick Kiln in Dhanbad’s Basamudi village. The National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote to the Jharkhand government, asking it to extend help and support to Soren from the state. The All India Football Federation intervened and helped out the athlete.
— Rekha Sharma (@sharmarekha) May 24, 2021
Soren was once the captain of Jharkhand’s football team and she had received a national call-up last year before the pandemic. On Sunday, Kiren Rijiju, India’s Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, has assured to help the struggling athlete.
According to a report by India Today, Soren was promised support by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren last year after a video of her seeking help during the lockdown was widely shared on social media. She was awaiting a job offer from the government but did not get one. Due to the pressing financial crisis at home, Soren then decided to take up brick kilning to support her family. Now, the sports minister has asked his office to extend support to Soren after taking note of her struggle for survival. He said that the footballer will soon receive help financially stating that his office is “ensuring a dignified life for athletes”.
I've been informed about footballer Sangeeta Soren, who has represented India in international competitions, and is in a financial crisis in this pandemic. My office has contacted her & financial help will be extended soon. Ensuring a dignified life for athletes is our priority. https://t.co/ldT0i7GxuX
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) May 23, 2021
Soren has been working hard on her game despite financial struggles. She was picked in U-17 India squads for age-group tournaments at the continental level in Bhutan and Thailand in 2018-19. A senior team call-up also came the Jharkhand player’s way but the pandemic has disrupted her plans. “The Block Development Officer, along with some other officials, had visited my home today and provided some financial assistance along with ration. They also ensured that they will be making arrangements for some regular source of income for me,” she said, The New Indian Express reported on Saturday.
It was BJP Jharkhand’s spokesperson, Kunal Sarangi, who first tweeted a news article about Soren tagging the sports minister. It has been reported that the athlete’s father Duba Soren lost his eyesight partially due to old age and her elder brother, who is also a daily wage labourer, couldn’t find stable work due to lockdowns. She has been struggling to find a government job for the last three years. She has even received 10,000 rupees from the district administration but she says that she doesn’t need cash. To her, finding a secured job is the priority so that she can help sustain her family. The footballer has started working at the brick kiln a couple of weeks ago with her mother.
😢 | Sangeeta Soren who represented India’s women football team in the U18 level at international events at Thailand and Bhutan in 2019 is now compelled to work as a brick kiln worker at her village due to poor financial condition. 🇮🇳💔 #IndianFootball #HerGameToo
— Sevens Football (@sevensftbl) May 18, 2021