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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Haryana village eves make Himachal U-16 national football champion

Fighting adversities, including conservatism, and with limited facilities at their vicinity, maximum of the Chuli Bagrian football centre girls hail from Sadalpur village, 13km away from the football centre.

chandigarh Updated: May 02, 2019 02:55 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Thirteen girls from Vinod football Academy in Chuli Bagrian Village in Hisar help the hill state win its maiden girls national title.
Thirteen girls from Vinod football Academy in Chuli Bagrian Village in Hisar help the hill state win its maiden girls national title.(HT Photo)
         

Thirteen girls from a football centre in Chuli Bagrian, a nondescript village in Hisar district of Haryana, have helped the neighboring hill state of Himachal Pradesh become U-16 national champion. On Wednesday, the Haryana girls helped their adopted state Himachal defeat Jharkhand 3-1 to lift the title in Kohlapur. And in the semifinal, they got the better of their own home team Haryana 1-0.

Out of 20-member Himachal Pradesh squad, 13 girls were the trainees of the Vinod Football Academy in Chuli Bagrian. And the entire playing XI in the final was from this Haryana village. Not only this, Manisha was awarded the best goalkeeper of the tournament, while her name sake in the winning squad was awarded best striker and Poonam best mid-fielder.

“It’s a dream come true. This tournament was very important for us, as the probables for the national camp for the next year U-17 FIFA Women World Cup will be selected from this championship only. We got seven girls in the national camp and hope maximum of them would make it to the final World Cup squad,” says coach Vinod Loyal, the person behind making Chuli Bagrian centre as one of the top football girls academy in the country.

It was during the selection trials of the Haryana team for the 2014 nationals wherein despite being the best team in the state only two of the girls were picked, triggering an exodus. “After that we decided to shift our base to Chandigarh and last year we moved to Himachal,” says Vinod.

Fighting adversities, including conservatism, and with limited facilities at their vicinity, maximum of the Chuli Bagrian football centre girls hail from Sadalpur village, 13km away from the football centre.

Earlier, with no football ground in the Sadalpur, the girls started training at the village cemetery before forcing the village Panchayat to allot them land for the play field.

“We trained at the village cemetery (in Sadalpur) for two years… training had to be suspended for a day whenever there was death in the village,” recalls Vinod. “The village is dominated by the Bishnoi community and as per tradition they bury their dead.” After results started pouring in, the village Panchyat got the girls a football ground.

Two year back, Vinod opened an academy at his native village Chuli Bagrian. On daily basis, for their morning and evening training sessions, the Sadalpur girls cycle around 50km.

“Maximum of my trainees are from humble family backgrounds --- daughters of driver, marginal farmers and labourers --- and becoming the national champion with bare minimum facilities is really a big achievement for us,” says coach Vinod.