Goan Girl wins football training season, test in Spain

PANAJI: Seven years after she started kicking the ball on the beach and played with the kids for fun, Karishma Shirvoikar Now he is treading where not many players have dared in the past.

The 18-year-old from Odxel, a small seaside village on the outskirts of the city, has earned a training period with Palamos CF. The Spanish club will introduce it into the Spanish football system and organize a test with the CD Fontsanta Fatjo, a professional women's team currently playing in the third division.

I never imagined that I would have that opportunity, but this is the best way forward. My family and I are very happy. This is a great moment for me. Playing with foreign players will only improve my game and make me stronger. I hope I have a coach who encourages me and keeps me motivated, Karishma told TOI.

For the forward of the players of Panjim, the opportunity to train in Spain and possibly even to win a professional contract changes life. His father, Pushotham, is sick at home, and his mother Anjani, a vegetable seller, is the only bread winner for the family.

The road was not easy and was possible only by the start of the Goa Women's League (GWL) two seasons ago. An initiative of the Goa football association & Sesa football academy .

'Karishma can inspire many'

The Goa Women's League provided a platform for more than 200 women to display their talent & Karishma was the one who stood out with her nose for goals.

A scholarship program has now allowed Karishma to pursue her dream.

"The Goa Women's League is a successful venture & we want to take this forward. We want to be the pioneers of women's football in India. The outcome of women's football compared to the men can be much more," said Sesa FA president Annanya Agarwal.

Karishma's selection for the first scholarship programme was unquestionable. She helped Panjim Footballers win the GWL for two consecutive seasons & dragged them to the Indian Women's League. Panjim did not qualify for the final round of IWL, but the gifted striker flourished with four goals that made heads turn. Earlier, she had scored the fastest goal - inside 15 seconds - at the Junior Nationals & represented the country at the U-17 Brics Cup in South Africa.

Her physique may not be ideal for European conditions, but it is her skill & hard work that sets her apart.

Things are happening too soon for Karishma who is now waiting to complete her visa formalities & take the first available flight to Spain. The company that runs Sesa FA has business interest in Namibia as well, so more doors may open for the youngster.

Karishma can inspire many other girls in the country. He has already opened a window of opportunity by giving an example, Agarwal said.