Tamilnadu , News Today , 16th October 2020 :Writer-journalist, Eduardo Galeano, believes in soccer (football), skill is the art of turning limitations into virtues. One who skilfully turns their situations into opportunities excel in whatever field they are in.
With Covid-19 pandemic, every day is a new opportunity for those who are never ready to quit. A 17-year-old girl, D Mariyammal (17), who has been selected for the under-17 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) women’s World Cup, had her share of obstacles to cross. To participate in the football match scheduled to be held in India between February 17 and March 7, 2021, the teenager sought the government’s support to practice for the marquee event.
The mega tournament was originally scheduled to be held in November at Kolkata, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar and Ahmedabad, but was postponed to 2021 due to the virus outbreak. For this world play-offs, Mariyammal, a resident of Sankari in Salem, was selected as the only football player from Tamil Nadu in May 2019.
After completing her Class XII from Namakkal Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Mariyammal was trying to join BA Tamil Literature, while practising football at the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu’s hostel in Namakkal. However, with Covid-19 hitting the State, all hostel authorities were advised to shut down facilities and send all the students back home. Mariyammal, who belongs to a financially weak family, found it difficult to practice due to inavailability of equipment at her house.
“Ever since the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) selected me for the U-17 World Cup, I have been practising football at the SDAT hostel ground. The lockdown came as a shock to me as I had to leave for home,” said Mariyammal. Though the AIFF planned to pick her for practice, the tickets had to be cancelled due to the pandemic fear. With her reaching out to the authorities concerned, the federation assured to bring her to Goa for coaching before the end of this month.
A call she received a couple of months ago from her coach Gokila proved not so much as a respite when she invited Mariyammal. “Though the stay and food are good, I am not able to practice properly as there is no playground, toilet and water,” she added. Raising her concern over the coordination among the teammates, she urged the government to consider her position and help her get better training for the World Cup. When TNIE brought the girl’s issue to the Collector, K Megraj’s notice, he reportedly met the teenager and assured help.