Hot on the heels of our boys outing at the men’s championships in October it was the turn of our girls to take part in the 6th Kalatai Tirpude Women’s State Championship on 17 and 18 December at Wani.
The tournament which saw participants from slums and underprivileged communities representing over 10 districts compete is not just about providing an opportunity to play the beautiful game, it also includes workshops to help the players build their own confidence and aspirations for the future as well as have fun and make new friends.
Our team did us proud winning three of their five matches in a tournament of 20 teams and over 200 girls. Although we didn’t reach the finals, as with our boys’ team once again the exemplary behaviour of our girl’s saw them crowned with the “Fair Play” award as the best team in providing equal opportunity to their teammates and those from other teams.
The tournament finished with a bang by announcing 10 players who made a place for themselves in the Maharashtra side that will appear in the National tournament. Among those selected were our balbhavan students, Shubangi Bhandare, whose father is a bhel vendor at Pune bus stand, and Anjali Naidu, whose father has a small tea shack at Ahmednagar railway station. We wish them luck in being selected at the trials.
Our Balbhavan's run community centers in seven of Ahmednagar's slums engaging the youth in activities such as soccer as a means to instil a sense of self belief and to prevent them falling into criminal activities.