by Ritwik Majumder
19-year-old Manasa is another young talent coming through the ranks of football crazy state of Kerala, with lots of potential. Her obsession stemmed from the fact that her father is a football enthusiast and her mother is a sports teacher and was subject to the constant buzz she shared as a sports loving kid.
Manasa, who is currently honing her skill at the Sethu FC as part of development camp, always longed to play for India and was stubborn in her desire to do so.
In the interview, the 19-year-old, Kerala native opens up about her role on the team as a breed of new and young players are introduced to the Sethu FC. She also talks about the role family and coaches played in her becoming a football player.
We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about Manasa, and can take away some valuable insights from what she has to share!
Tell us something about the initial years, when you started football and how everyone reacted to your decision?
I started playing football when I was in 5th standard, my dad is a football enthusiast and my mom is a sports teacher, so I got full support from my family and everyone around us were also very supportive towards my decision of becoming a football player.
What was the football scene at your place when you started playing the game?
The state infrastructure for women’s football was not very updated and did not have any firm vision about the game when we started playing. Boys were given more priority and we took part in football camps for boys. We really look forward to the football culture in Manipur, everyone is very supportive there and the state also takes good care of women’s football and its growth.
Who is that one person who has played a big role in your football journey so far?
I would like to give the credits to two persons actually. The first person for me is Prasad sir who has been very supportive and stood by me throughout my football journey so far. Our school team’s coach has also been extremely supportive and took care of our practices, her name is Fausia miss.
What are your views and thoughts Sethu FC?
According to me, Sethu is a wonderful club which takes excellent care of their players and wants to do something about women’s football in the country. The unity inside the team is remarkable and all the players, support staff and the coaches are excellent and have good football environment all around.
Being from Kerala, why not Gokulam FC and Sethu FC instead?
Sethu FC was the one to approach us, first and not Gokulam FC, so they are the first to give us this wonderful opportunity of being a part of a senior professional football team. This is why we are committed to give our hundred percent to Sethu FC and we don’t have any soft corners for Gokulam or anything. Our full support is for Sethu this season.
Being a forward in the game, which defense or defender you think is tough to get past the ball?
I think the defenders from Haryana really gives me a tough time on the pitch and it’s really tough to go through that defensive line. I think their experience over the game and their strong physique contributes to such qualities in the game.
How you feel about sharing the dressing room and practice with stars like Indumathi and Sandhya?
Actually, I have learnt a lot from these stars in our team like their positive influence in the dressing room and on the pitch too. They are so hardworking and serious about the game and their dedication towards the game is unmatched. These qualities made them what they are today and I wish to replicate the same qualities within myself and be more hardworking and dedicated towards the game.
How you like Sethu’s way of playing football, is it of any difference from how you played at your native?
Sethu plays really good quality football. The most striking thing which I feel about their style of playing is the passing game. The passing aspect of the game is given a lot of importance here and players happily stick to such plans. Back at my native passing did not contribute to our games much and we were almost unaware of such a different technique we can implement in our games.
Tell us where would you like to see yourself after the Sethu experience?
I believe my game play will be improved a lot after I leave Sethu. I’ll be more experienced as a player and my adaptability towards playing in different parts of the country and playing different type of football will also increase. I’ll get closer to achieve my dreams with such kind of experience and all round player development.
What are your views regarding the IWL and do you think Indian women’s football is evolving?
The IWL is a great platform for all the women footballers across the country. After the huge success our women’s football team achieved in the recent SAFF Cup is a clear indication to how we are marching forward and women’s football’s development in the country. We are still looking forward to more domestic leagues for women like ISL and other championships. At first, we used to wait for nationals as that was the only women’s football opening in our country; but now we can see the changes, however the inclusion of more leagues will boost up our confidence and our abilities can be showcased more.
Tell us something about your future plans and where would you like to play in the future?
My biggest dream is to represent my country in the World Cup and I am ready to give everything to reach such a height. Being a professional player I want to be as successful as Cristiano Ronaldo and someday I wish to play with him in a real game. I want to join a foreign club in the future as am greatly influenced by the European style of play and wish to play with such players one day.
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