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Team man Messi god of girls with national goal

Siwan girl Amrita Kumari’s father sells vegetables in Gurgaon. If luck is on her side, she can play for the country at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 tournament to be held in Sri Lanka this year.

She has been selected for the India Under-16 football camp to be held in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar. The 15-year-old is confident she would prove her mettle at the camp beginning on August 20.

Amrita, one among three sisters and two brothers, said: “The trial was held in Muzaffarpur and I was selected for the India camp. I am confident I would be selected for the Asian Football Confederation Under-16 tournament.”

She has experience to back her. The Class IX student of Hariram Uchcha Vidyalaya in Siwan was selected for the Under-14 India camp last year and made it to the final squad. At that time, the India team had won the tournament.

Her coach Sanjay Pathak is boastful of her. He said: “She started playing three years ago. At such a tender age, the girl is an all-rounder. Except goalkeeper, she can play in any position. She is a good striker. She has the calibre and can become a great player in the future.”

She is perhaps inspired by the Germany soccer team captain, Philipp Lahm, and his team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger. The duo controlled the game from their own penalty box to the opponents’ in most of the matches in the recently concluded Fifa World Cup.

However, for the Bihar star, Argentine forward Lionel Messi is the god of soccer. “He inspires all. He is a natural player and a great team man. After the loss against Germany in the final of this World Cup, even his Golden Boot did not matter to him. He seemed lost and down. That’s a player who was mourning for his country,” said Amrita.

Amrita, however, is not alone from Bihar who is eyeing a national berth in the U-16 soccer team. Also hoping to make the state proud is Minakshi Pranava Kumar from Munger.

The Intermediate student in a senior secondary school at Nawagarhi in Purnea district, she has also been selected for the India camp. She was selected for the India camp last year also, but could not make it to Sri Lanka.

Minakshi, who hails Messi, said: “I am playing football since I was two-and-a-half years old and I love the sport. I could not make it to Sri Lanka last year as I had suffered a foot injury. I am trying to avoid a similar situation this time. I have prepared hard and would give my best to make it to Sri Lanka this year.”

Her coach Nirmalendu Kumar said he normally desists from calling any of his students perfect. “But Minakshi is very good in the midfield as well as in the forward. I hope she gives her best.”