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Labourer’s Daughter Makes It To Indian Women’s Soccer Team

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Ria Das
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Women in football in India

Sanju Yadav's dream has come true.  The daughter of a farm labourer from Alakhpura village of Bhiwani district is now a part of national women football team. Her first match starts today against Afghanistan at the South Asian Federation Games at Siliguri in Western Bengal, TOI reported.

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When Sanju first started playing football at the age of 10, it was just a passion. Later, she was introduced to the other benefits of being a player as coming from a poor family, those are some serious concerns anyone would have.

Alakhpura village labourer’s daughter to play for Indian women’s soccer team today Pic by TOI

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Her intention is to get scholarships and prize money, which could help her parents run the family. Sanju (19) has also played in U-14, 17 and Under-19 national football teams before she got selected in the national team and acquired the position of centre forward.

The effort paid off as Sanju was offered a job by the ministry of railways and soon after she finishes these games, will head off for her railway duties, said Sonika Bijarnia, football coach posted at the village. Sonika is also hopeful that Sanju's selection would inspire many aspiring girls to take up the sport.

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Sanju is the eldest among three siblings but her proud father Balraj Singh said, "She assisted me in the fields during crop harvesting season as a farm labourer. I'm really proud that she has also secured her future with the game." Singh also claimed that Sanju is more than a son to him.

With only one acre land, Singh works in others' fields to sustain his family.

"We could hardly managed two meals in a day," Sanju’s mother Nirmla Devi talked about the time when Sanju started playing football and they lived in a house made of mud bricks. "For the last four-five years, she got around Rs 2 lakh scholarship per year and with that (money) we constructed a two-bedroom house and even have good food at home," she added.

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Describing Sanju‘s potential, Gordhan Dass, a physical instructor at the village school, caller her, "the amazing girl who was always focused on the game". "Even while working as farm labourer, she chose to toil hard along with her father to increase her stamina. That helped her in the game," said Gordhan.

We wish Sanju all the luck!

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Also Read: Bhagyashree, the only football champ from Maharashtra in under-16 national squad

Feature Image Credit: slumsoccer.org

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