Last year a picture of a Kashmiri girl throwing stones had gone viral on the internet. Now the same girl is a source of inspiration to all girls and women in Jammu and Kashmir. Meet 23-year-old Afsan Ashiq who is now captain of Kashmir women’s football team.
According to Afsan it is that picture which brought her to media’s attention. But she left all that behind for the greater good and never turned back. She met with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who supported her. Now Afsan is playing as the goalkeeper and leading the Jammu and Kashmir women’s football team as captain. She also plays for a football club in Mumbai competing in the Indian Women’s League.
This Tuesday Afshan met Union home minister Rajnath Singh along with her coach Satpal Singh Kala, manager Tsering Angmo and 22-member football team. They have asked for government’s help to encourage young girls from J&K to play sports and to start a Sports Authority of India (SAI) Institute in Kashmir.
Met the young and energetic girls of J&K’s first ever women football team. They are highly motivated & 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. pic.twitter.com/3ZlMwhzkXm
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) December 5, 2017
Ater the meeting Afshan said to ANI,”The only reason for us to have reached out to him was to improve and encourage sports in J&K. The state government is taking many initiatives but central government’s support is essential too. We thought if kids talked to him, it would have an impact. It was important to talk about the problems faced by us.”
“I was impressed by how patiently a Union minister heard the issues raised by us. We sought better sports infrastructure in J&K. The home minister called up J&K CM in front of us and told her to meet us when we get back to Srinagar,” Afshan told TOI.
She thanked the state CM Mehbooba Mufti for helping her and the whole team with the sports equipment. According to PTI, the government has already sanctioned Rs. 100 crore(under the Prime Minister’s special package) for the state. Afshan takes it as an honor to be a part of the state team and plans to become a national level player making India proud. There is a unity in diversity in their team also as all the team members belong to different regions of the state.
Rewinding the history of her stone-throwing incident Afshan said, “I don’t regret anything. I would not have picked up a stone had it not been for the misbehavior of the police. But now I have a reputation and image to maintain. I want to focus on football and make my state and nation proud.”
All the best for your future aspirations Afshan! Shine on!