MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Girls shine in football tournament as six schools send teams to participate in event

The three-day CISCE West Bengal and North East Regional Football Tournament for Girls 2023 is being hosted by La Martiniere for Girls. It has three categories — under-14, under-17 and under-19

Jhinuk Mazumdar Calcutta Published 14.07.23, 09:10 AM
La Martiniere (in light blue) and Mahadevi Birla Shishu Vihar tussle in the same category

La Martiniere (in light blue) and Mahadevi Birla Shishu Vihar tussle in the same category Pictures courtesy: Kaleidoscope Club of La Martiniere for Girls

A school barely had a few girls sign up for football coaching seven months ago.

Most of the girls were reluctant because it would leave them “too tired” for classes, they said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Gradually, they joined, drawn to the field after seeing their friends rough it out in the sun.

The girls from Sri Aurobindo Institute of Education on Wednesday played in the semi-finals of an under-19 football tournament organised by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE).

The three-day CISCE West Bengal and North East Regional Football Tournament for Girls 2023 is being hosted by La Martiniere for Girls. It has three categories — under-14, under-17 and under-19.

Invites were sent to 200 schools in the region. Only six schools, where girls train in football, sent their teams.

The U-19 category had four teams — Mahadevi Birla Shishu Vihar, St Augustine’s Day School Barrackpore, Sri Aurobindo Institute of Educationand La Martiniere forGirls. Teams from Modern High School for Girls and Delhi Public School Megacity took part in other categories.

“There is a gender stereotype associated with girls playing football that has to be broken with awareness and opportunities,” said Rupkatha Sarkar, principal, La Martiniere for Girls.

“Schools have to create more opportunities and infrastructure for girls to play. When girls come forward to play, the exposure and experience help them break gender barriers.... Many still feel sports like badminton, kabaddi and basketball are for girls, not football.”

In many homes, football is still a “man’s sport”.

The recently concluded boys’ tournament hosted next door, at La Martiniere for Boys, had 20 schools in the U-17 category.

St Thomas’ Boys’ School in Kidderpore hosted a U-19 tournament that had 27 schools.

Girls’ schools like Sri Aurobindo put up a fight, though.

“We now have 30 girls in our school playing football. This is the first tournament they are participating in and to be able to get such an exposure will be a motivation for them,” said Sunita Rani Roy, a teacher at Sri Aurobindo.

Over the past month, the team has been practising from 6.30am to 9.30am, before school.

The girls got interested in the game when they saw their friends play. “Some of them would go back and tell stories of the football field and that got the others interested,” said Roy.

The girls’ team from Delhi Public School Megacity is also a few months old. “The response from the boys is more, but we are trying to encourage the girls, too. Unless we give them equal opportunities, they will not come out of their shell,” said Indrani Sanyal, principal of the school.

Sanyal said more than the students, it is the mindset of adults that stops girls from playing football.

St Augustine’s Day School now has an astroturf and has started football practice for girls from this session. “We were waiting for this facility to start the sport among our girls. The boys go to practice on a ground outside the campus,” said Jhuma Biswas, principal of the school.

Greta Dennis, a Class XII student of La Martiniere, said: “Teamwork and camaraderie are not learnt in classrooms alone. We are in the final because we played as a team.”

La Martiniere for Girls played against Mahadevi Birla Shishu Vihar in the U-19 finals on Thursday and won. La Martiniere also won the U-17 finals against Delhi Public School Megacity on Thursday.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT