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From Stone Pelting To Goal Keeping: Afshan Has Done It All

NEW DELHI: “I do not want to look back. My life has changed forever. I want to be an achiever and do some proud to the State and the nation,” says Afshan Ashiq Captain of the `Chief Minister’s XI’ women’s football team.
The `Chief Minister’s XI’ team played the Indian Women’s League Football Championship held in Kolhapur, Maharashtra recently.
Afshan, whose life story might soon hit the silver screen with a renowned Bollywood filmmaker planning to launch a biopic on her life, hails from Srinagar. Her life and career made a remarkable U-turn since the days when her picture splashed in the national media as a stone-pelter.
Her tender hands once hurled stones, but now as the team’s goalkeeper, stand firmly at her goalpost.
Afshan Ashiq, whose team met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, here said the youth (in Kashmir) is talented but there is need for a platform.
In a prompt gesture, the Union Home Minister spoke on the phone instantly with Ms Mehbooba Mufti, the State Chief Minister and conveyed to her the concerns of the young players and that these should be promptly taken up for redressal.
 “Met the young and energetic girls of J&K’s first ever Women Football Team. They are highly motivated and driven when it comes to football. Playing the role of new age ‘Gender Benders’, these girls are setting an example for others to follow. I wish them success and a great future,” said Rajnath Singh in a tweet.
The 25 member delegation included three officials who started the team. Of the 22 girls, 11 are from J&K, - five from the Kashmir Valley, four from Jammu region and two from Ladakh. Interacting with the Union Home Minister, the girls drew his attention to the need for creating better sports infrastructure and facilities and providing more opportunities to fulfill the aspirations of the youth from the State.
Rajnath Singh told the team that an additional provision of Rs.100 crore has been specially made for upgradation of sports facilities in the State.
Coach Satpal Singh said the J&K Sports Council has set up State Football Academies in as many as 19 of 22 total districts in the State. The J&K CM’s XI team comprises 11 girls from other parts of the country including six from Haryana, three from Odisha, and one each from Bihar and Jharkhand. The induction of outside talent raises standards to enable the team come up to the national level, said team Manager Tsering Angmo.

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