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In the wee hours of morning, the Christ University sports ground in Bengaluru is all packed. The pairs of boots jogging and dribbling the ball is sight worth a watch. These pairs are college-going girls managing academics with the same rigor as they pursue sports. They make it in the morning with one passion in heart and mind- a passion to play football. The team A squad includes captain Rasiga Madhavan, Sanoli, Jane, Rakshita, Valli, Nicole, Babitha, Friyan, Pallavi, Anju, Gayathri, Kanchan, Meghana, Soundarya, Pavithra and goal-keeper Crystal. Star player Sushmitha Maria Fernandes, studying her final year BCom in Christ is one of them who has represented Karnataka state at the National level giving her insight on the team.
Managing academics and sports in a reputed college like Christ is quite a mammoth task with strict follow-up on attendance and assignments. How do you still manage to wake up in the morning for practice?
It is de-stressing to play football in the morning. Everyone in our team believes that sports do not take a toll on academics. Of course, it makes us hard to concentrate in class with a strict time-table schedule to follow but our college has supported us all the way through to postpone yet finish our assignments on time. The college has supported our passion, to play football by providing all the requirements, kit and facilities-the ground and a good coach, … for the sport. What more could you ask for?
We worked on our skills to cover up each of our player’s weaknesses. That’s where we grew stronger'
Our team from the start did not believe in football being a sport only for the men. We started as a small group of players who were beginners and had a few players beyond amateur-level yet grassroot-level in playing. All we did was practice and work hard. Our coach Mr. Arun Babu was very dedicated as we were. We faltered a lot and yet we stood strong with each mistake. Gradually, we were asked to play intra-college and we got better. A one-on one with Captain Rasiga Madhavan pursuing her final year B.Sc highlighted the team’s determination and strong will.
You are one of the best teams in Bangalore. What are the tournaments you participate in now and how was it challenging?
We have been a local favorite when we play inter-collegiate tournaments inside Bangalore and it was not a cake-walk to start off with. When we played tournaments inside college, we knew the weaknesses of our team members and it was hence easier. Inter-college meant playing with a new team whose strategies and coordination would be different. Yet, we focused on our game and worked better on our coordination than worrying about the other team. We worked on our skills to cover up each of our player’s weaknesses. That’s where we grew stronger.
So, what are the football events held in your college?
It generally starts with a Pedagogic League that is conducted in the college on the lookout for talents and for the promotion of the games. Then is the Chri-spo fest that showcases college’s best team to compete with other colleges. Then the team goes on to represent the University at various state-level or inter-collegiate tournaments. We also have inter-deanery and inter-class matches.
Which tournaments are the most challenging one to compete looking at the present status of your team and why?
We find South-zone inter university matches very challenging. Teams we compete against generally are from Tamil Nadu who have played better because of their good stamina. Tessa Tobar, a foreign-exchange student from California has also played with us and it is her first time playing football in India. She has been able to sustain longer than most of us in the football field. 'One of the teams difficult to play with is St. Aloysius, Mangalore. They are skilful as they have good endurance.'[/caption] What do you aim to improve on and comment on your rival teams in Bangalore and outside Bangalore… The team aims to improve on our stamina and endurance shifting our focus from skills. We generally play against St. Joseph’s College, Jyoti Nivas College and Mount Carmel College. One of the teams difficult to play with is St. Aloysius, Mangalore. They are skilful as they have good endurance. With hopes in new heart and fire in the belly, the senior members in the team also makes sure to train a set of juniors before they graduate so that these juniors will carry forward the name of the University dribbling their way to achieve their goals.
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