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Telangana teen in Indian football squad

Published: 12th Feb 2021 12:16 am

Hyderabad: Telangana State’s G Soumya was over the moon when she became the first from the State to make it to Indian senior women’s football team. The 19-year-old from Nizamabad was named in the squad by the All India Football Federation on Thursday for the upcoming friendlies against Turkey from February 14 to 24 which will be held in Alanya, Turkey.

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Speaking from Goa, where she is training with the Indian camp, the young footballer said she was all excited. “It has always been my dream to play for the country. I am very happy to be part of it now. When I told my parents they didn’t believe me at first. They were delighted and told me to do well. It was their dream as well to see me play for the country at the senior level,” she said.

Soumya’s father Gopi is a school teacher and mother Dhanalaxmi a home maker.

Speaking about the camp, “It was very tough. The competition was very high. But I finally made it to the team. We are leaving on Saturday for Turkey. If I get a chance to play, I want to make the best of the opportunity,” Soumya said.

Hailing from a small village Kisan Thanda in Renjal mandal, Soumya moved to Nizamabad with her mother for studies. Soumya’s coach G Nagaraj, who spotted her while she was studying in class 7 at the Raghava High School in Nizamabad and then convinced her reluctant parents to let her pursue her dream, said he was delighted at the news. “We have been working very hard for the last 11 months. She had already played for the country in Under-14, 16, 18 and 19 categories. But our goal was to play for the senior team. Now that she got selected to Indian team, we are all happy. We had a point to prove to other States that football exists here as well,” he said from Nizamabad.

MLC K Kavitha hailed the youngster and hoped she would bring laurels to the country. “It is a proud moment for us as Soumya, at a young age of 19, made it to Indian women’s football team. I congratulate her and wish her success,” she said.

Meanwhile, Telangana Football Association secretary G Palugna said, “It is a very proud moment for us. She is the first woman from both States to make it to Indian team. The last time a player represented the country was in 1995 when Sayeed played in pre-Olympic games. She now put our State’s name again on the Indian map,” he said.

Speaking about her progress, coach Nagaraj said, “She joined my Care Football Academy and we have been training her since then. This is a great moment for us and also for our State,” he said, adding, “She played for Mumbai’s India Rush Soccer Club in Indian Women’s League. She then moved to Kenkre Football Club in the last two years. In 2020 January, she scored 21 goals for her club and emerged the top-scorer. Soumya then played in Telangana Women’s League and Vasudha FC and emerged top scorer with 9 goals. She played in IWL main rounds in Bengaluru and emerged joint-top scorer with 7 goals and was selected to the Indian camp.”

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