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Bronze glory for Ormanjhi's soccer senoritas - Team Yuwa bags third place in Gasteiz Cup in Spain, loses semis berth to hosts in parallel San Sebastian tourney

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  • Published 16.07.13

Jharkhand’s rural senoritas have done India proud in Spain, considered the contemporary Mecca of world soccer.

The Under-14 eves from Ranchi’s Ormanjhi block, who represented the country as Team Yuwa, have bagged bronze in Gasteiz Cup that was played in Vitoria-Gasteiz in northern Spain last month.

The rustic dribble squad defeated local stars of Gasteiz CF 2-0 for the third place.

In the other tourney — Donosti Cup — played in San Sebastian during their two-week stay, Jharkhand’s soccer girls made it to the quarter-finals, but lost their semis berth to the Spaniards.

Team Yuwa, comprising 18 members, had left country on June 27 for the twin tournaments. The girls returned home to hero’s welcome on Sunday.

Franz Gastler — a US citizen and founder of the voluntary outfit Yuwa — said his girls did great against stronger opponents.

“The odds were piled up against them. First, they had to play on an astroturf field — something they had never done before; second, the rival teams were healthier and stronger; and third, my girls had never played beyond the borders of their native villages unlike their opponents. Despite all this, they did just great,” Gastler gushed.

Team coach in Ranchi Sandeep Chhetry was all praises too. “The girls had never been exposed to such gruelling practice. The field had changed, the rivals were mighty and they had to give their 200 per cent. We are so glad that they bagged third place in Gasteiz Cup,” he said.

Chhetry listed his star performers as strikers Laxmi and Punam, mid-fielder Manisha, forward Shivani and defenders Sunita and Sushma, not to forget captain Rinki. “The girls are very excited with their achievement,” he added.

Urmila Kumari, a midfielder, conceded that playing on synthetic turf was difficult. “The plastic grass clings to your shoes. I am faster on natural ground. This was a different, but great experience,” said the Class X student of Government Girls’ School in Ormanjhi and a regular trainee with Yuwa.

The Yuwa mentors said the teenagers had played equally well in Donosti Cup though they did not secure a rank.

This tourney is one of the biggest in Spain, where almost 400 soccer teams from 30 countries take part in various age categories. Team Yuwa was the only representative from India. They fought it out with 32 other teams in the Under-14 category before they were defeated by the hosts.

What is your message for these gutsy girls?