by Ritwik Majumder
Humility and gratitude are two qualities that define this hard working player the best. Pavithra, who considers her mom and dad (Santhi and Murugesan) as her biggest role models, swears to live her life only to make them proud.
She might have come a long way from where she started off, but Pavithra has surely not forgotten her roots as she remembers the days and nights when she struggled to make ends meet.
In the interview, the 17-year-old Sethu FC defender takes you through a journey of a women’s footballer who is surely a trailblazer to watch out for in the near future!
When you started playing football and how were the initial years like?
I started playing football when I was studying in my fifth standard, opposite to my school there was another higher secondary school where my elder sister Bhuvenswari was studying. There they used to play football on a regular basis from which I got a lot of influence about the game and the interest to take up football seriously also started to grow in me gradually. I stayed almost glued to their training sessions and grasped all that I could learn from their trainings and their style of approaching the game.
I played my first nationals at 8th standard in the Assam nationals which was my first hand experience of a proper organized football tournament for women. After my first nationals there was no looking back for me as I went on to play for the national team in the consecutive years.
Who do you want to name as a point of constant support and motivation in your football journey so far?
Firstly, I would like to thank all my family members who have been besides me no matter what happens and what my performance was. Without them maybe I couldn’t have even thought of persuading football as my career, they have always cheered for me and my team whenever I was out for any tournaments or championships.
The next person I would like to thank is D.Raju who has been my coach since the time I had start playing football. His take on particular techniques and skills on the pitch is absolutely spot on and I bank on those skills even today.
With these influences, what type of player is Pavithra?
Since the time I have started playing football I have been playing in the defense position for quite some time. Heading the ball and perfecting my tackles at the right time and positions has been my assets and I really love mixing all the different techniques in my game. I also enjoy watching an opponent player with the ball as it gives me an idea that how should be my approach towards them and are there any loop holes in their game which I can exploit at some point of time.
Which memory would you consider to be the best which football has gifted you?
As far as I remember, the SAFF Cup of 2016 was where I enjoyed playing football and my performance throughout the tournament was well above my mark. I also got the most number of appearances in that tournament where the team management as well as my coach banked on my skills and luckily I was able to deliver to my full potentiality.
Which player do you love watching and enjoy his way of playing?
Henrique Sereno from Chennaiyin FC is someone I really love to watch. He is a kind of defender on whom a whole team can bank on and also can be almost sure of not conceding a goal, his way of reading the game is like no one else which obviously allows him to be more concentrated and settled on the pitch unlike many other defenders. His aerial ability and solid passing has been the most striking features in his game and is something that I want to replicate in my game as well.
How do you think Sethu FC changed your lifestyle?
After Chennai League, this is my second tournament with Sethu FC. The club has recognized us and has given us an opportunity to portray and showcase our talents at such big levels. I am extremely grateful to them for taking a chance on me. The club places a lot of emphasis on the basics and on techniques as well. We work very hard on the pitch and follow two touch techniques mostly. We try to avoid unwanted dribbling with the ball and our coach is also very particular about this.
How do you see women’s football now and where are the areas where there is still room for us to improve?
The condition of women’s football is much better than what it was used to be in the past. With the inclusion of more leagues and championships in the present scene, I believe we can flourish even more. We have more women football professionals now which is higher than all time records and the involvement of more sponsors and brands for us is precisely the way of improving and betterment for women’s football in India.
When your career is finished, what do you want to be remembered for?
When my career is finished, I want to be known as a fierce, feared defender that no one ever wanted to play against. I’d like to think that people would remember me for my passion for the game and applications which I showed on the pitch for my profession day in, day out.
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