Kashmiri eves take to soccer field

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By Parvez Butt

Srinagar, June 1 : Many enthusiastic Kashmiri girls are now taking to football field with an admirable verve.

Dressed in sportswear, some of them even in 'Hijab' (veil worn by Muslim women) and putting on studs, these girls can be noticed dribbling away with gusto at a football field here.

At least 45 schoolgirls are attending a football coaching camp organized by the department of youth services and sports. The short-listed trainees for Srinagar will play in the under-19 girls' football tournament to be held at Kargil in June.

Everyday, these girls can be spotted kicking and heading the ball in the field for hours at the camp.

"My brother is a football buff who eagerly watches European league soccer on television. Gradually, I became interested in the sport and when the opportunity came my way, I grabbed it," Bismah, a standard nine student.

Most of these girls belong to a conservative family background but are determined to enter the male bastion while playing football. They wish to prove their mettle in the days to come by participating in national women's football tourney.

Many girls admit till recently they were looked upon as shy of partaking in sports. But today they girls are out to change general perception about them.

"Today, the environment has changed. Parents here want their girls to come forward and showcase their talent in all streams. Today, we don't wish to lag behind in any field dominated by boys. We wish to outshine boys," said Asma, one of the trainees.

Mushtaq Dar, the football coach at the training camp, said that this game is quite new for girls in the Kashmir valley. But they are eager to learn the skills.

"These girls are interested and wish to come forward to play. They are inspired by Tennis queen Sania Mirza and are eager to perform to their potential. They are enthusiastic about the Santosh Trophy too," said Mushtaq Dar, the soccer coach.

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