Apurna Narzary of Assam’s Kokrajhar is an integral part of the Indian under 18 side that won the SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship 2022 in Jamshedpur.
Apurna has been part of India women football’s under-18 and 19 teams for the last several months. Hailing from remote Khagrabari village, the 18-year-old forward always wanted to make it big.
She tried several times but couldn’t pass the hurdles. But during the lockdown phase in the last two years, she devoted more time to football. She continued to practice harder and finally, she got the good news when she was invited to be a part of India’s under-19 side to play in the SAFF U19 Women’s Championship in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2021.
Ever since she has been part of the camp.
During an interaction, Apurna shared her thoughts and experience.
Some of the excerpts:
On her experience with the India U18 and U19 side:
My experience in the squad has been great. We combine well and support each other. We help to rectify each others’ mistakes. We stay together and believe in each other. Everyone encourages one another. We do crack jokes and fool around as well.
On her improvement since joining the national side:
I came here in January, so it’s been almost three months since I joined the national team camp. Earlier when I used to practice, I had problems with scoring. So I spoke to Alex (Ambrose) sir. He said you’re doing well and you just need to focus. After that, I started improving. We did better-shooting drills and improved on our through passes and one touch.
On her childhood:
My father is a physical instructor and used to play football at the district level before. During childhood, I didn’t have female friends so I used to go to the ground with my father and play football with boys.
No girl in my town was interested in sports. Playing with the boys, we used to divide teams and play for small amounts of money, like 20-100 rupees. I played with boys until class 10th.
At SAI Kokrajhar:
Then I got selected in SAI in 2017. I used to play in tournaments for SAI. I played in the Subroto Cup and in Reliance in Mumbai. In the same year, I attended trials for the Indian team but couldn’t get selected. I was upset but I was determined to work harder after that. I used to practice alone staying at home during the lockdown. Now I’ve finally made it here.
On favourite players:
My favourite player is Cristiano Ronaldo. My favourite Indian player is Sunil Chhetri. I like Ronaldo’s dribbling and the skills he does. I like Chhetri’s passing and shooting.
I want to become stronger, improve my game. I want to do something for myself and get a good job. But I want to continue playing football.
On mother and sisters:
My mother is a housewife and also teaches in a school in our village. We are four sisters. My elder sister is pursuing MS coaching in football. My younger sister is in the 7th class. The second sister is trying to get into athletics.