To a better and stronger Supergirls

After 6 wins and 1 draw, it all came down to one single opponent, Anza from Singapore, to decide which team goes through to the finals at the JSSL International Football Tournament.

Anza had been the champion for Team A and we knew we had an upheaval battle waiting for us after defeating Proveda from phillipine 2-0 which moved us up to meet Anza.

Day 3 had been the hottest and most challenging day in this tournament. Playing on turf grass at 1pm, in the hot unforgiving sun was pretty exhausting.

After their first match, against Proveda, the girls only had half hour to catch their breath and medicate injuries sustained before meeting Anza. They were hastily rushed off to pitch 1 for their next match.

Minutes after the whistle went off, Rania scored a goal, giving us the lead and the confidence we needed because it was an extremely nerve wracking to be pitted against last year’s JSSL champs.

If I thought the Tai Tam Tigers from Hong Kong were big players, Anza were twice of that. These girls were very experienced and mentally strong because the first nil advantage didn’t dampen their spirit even a wee bit. It only made them stronger and more fierce in their game.

This 1-0 lead was short lived after an equalizer goal from the opposing team and one immediately after that was scored. Just as day turns into night, casting a blanket of darkness, it was clearly visible, Supergirls had lost hope.

The fatigue which they hid well up to this point suddenly began to show. Their game got a lot slower and focused all their energy at ensuring no more goals were scored by Anza. 3-1 was the score and that marked the end of Supergirls journey in this tournament.

It was quite heartbreaking to see these girls unable to move to finals after playing so well over the past three days. It was time to let these girls digest their journey at their own pace. But some are already talking about what should be done for next year’s tournament.

There is hope. There’s always hope.

To a better and stronger Supergirls.

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To be in the moment

VIP seat at Camp Nou, Catalonia Spain. Also experienced the media room and the tunnel players walk through before match.

Firstly I am amazed at how far my first born has made it in her footie adventure. When they first joined this amazing all girls football team, never in a million years did my daughters, my husband or I ever dreamt of it giving us such a wonderful experience.

It was May 2015, one bright sunny evening. My husband and I nervously approached some moms and dads at the USJ 4 field. It was hard to get their attention because they were busy laying out food for their Vasakhi potluck party, which later we learned is something these crazy awesome bunch of volunteers from the Subang Jaya Community Sports Club (SJCSC), love doing.

Many were dressed in fine Punjabi suits and the men, wore their favourite Kurtis. Some non Punjabis even donned on the turbans. How cool was that?

I was in my old tattered jeans (one of my few favourite posession which I had been wearing for over a decade) and my husband in his usual loose football shorts and oversized sandals. Both my girls begged us to turn back because they too felt out of place. I’m glad my husband, a football lover, did what he does best when it comes to football, he walked right up and asked if my girls could join them. The rest is history.

It took a lot dedication and we had to give up our bum lifestyles; which was spending the whole weekend cooped up in our house watching television.

Every weekend we were would drag ourselves out of the house and onto the field for football training. During tournament season, it was mapping KL roads. Going to places we would normally never go and spending our whole morning and afternoon at these tournaments.

Most of these tournaments would start about 7.30 (we meet early to warm up together) and end about 2 pm if we are lucky but usually can last until 3 or 4 pm.

 

SEE ALSO: Their first tournament

Every weekend there is football, if it’s not a tournament then it would be training. As tough as it sounds, it is a lot of fun too.

It’s lovely to see these girls, ages between 5 to 13 years old meet up and train. It’s not just about football, it’s more than that. Although they meet only once a week but the connection between them is good. They always seemed eager to train, which is a positive attitude.

We are lucky to have such a dedicated team coordinator and awesome team committee. These people not only jive well with each other but are genuinely interested in helping girls in their football journey.

They get them into tournaments so it would give these girls the confidence they need. Even if it means joining all boys tournaments and playing against all boys teams because football is still, a male dominated sport.

But luckily Astro Kasih saw the gap and decided to give equal opportunity to young girls, and a footing in football. They are helping both young girls and boys by giving them a invaluable experience.

And that’s how my daughter ended up in Barcelona, Spain for a 10 day overseas football training camp at FCB Escola.

It’s brilliant what she is experiencing at this moment. Would there be more opportunities for girls in football? We and many parents have our fingers crossed.

But for time being, we are just taking one step at a time and enjoying her journey. Hoping she would be able to do more when she returns and help others along the way.

With Dani Alves at a beach in Barcelona

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There’s no place like home

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At the airport before departing to Barcelona

“This time tomorrow, I won’t be doing the dishes and the next morning I won’t be taking Bahadur for a walk or any of my usual mundane routine stuff”, said my eldest, looking rather glum at the dinner table .

“But I thought you hated all these chores?” I butt in, trying to make light of the matter.

She was sad because this would be her first trip without us but was happy about going to Barcelona for a football camp.

She didn’t know how to react because she had worked for it and did her best to be part of the lucky 32 that be attending a 10 days football training but as the day drew closer, her feelings were playing with her. It was a big bag of mixed emotions.

“Are you sure you are my Asheesh?” I asked her because kids her age wouldn’t worry about missing their daily mundane stuff.

“Yea! Imagine no nagging ma to annoy you,” her little sister said annoyingly.

Listening to her speak about how she was going to miss the normal and mundane in her life made her sound so matured.
Perhaps she too feels that wonderful feeling my husband and I get each time we return home after our holiday or weekend away.

There’s truly no place like home.

The little one missing her elder sister and calling out her name while hugging the laptop
The little one missing her elder sister and calling out her name while hugging the laptop


Barcelona Chronicles continues…

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History Happens Here: Day 1 FCB Escola, Barcelona

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At  the FCB Escola Soccer camp’s pitch; during their training

During my sporting days; I was a runner and played netball for school which pretty much up sums up the extent of my athleticism, but I always complained of the heat.

It took too much energy off me when I was training or during actual competitions because I would be drenched by the end of it. Feeling completely exhausted and burnt all over which was just the right recipe for me to complain and bitch, and cry and kick.

Sunblock wasn’t a thing back then and non existence for a suburban girl like me.

On one misty morning, many moons ago, I noticed an improvement in my athletic skills. A much better performance than my usual attempts at  a cross country run because on that particular day, the sun was hidden behind thick dense clouds and the air was fresh. Felt like I was running under a perpetual soft rain fall, that kept my body temperature cool.

I managed to secure the second spot, just seconds after the victor. Immediately a judgement was passed; that people from cold country were so lucky because they didn’t have to suffer running under humid hot weather like mine, and perhaps that was the reason most of the fastest runners were from that part of the world (then).

That was the extent of my sporting knowledge, limited to my locality and experience.

At Camp Nou: History Happens Here

But listening to my daughter sharing on about the experiences she’s gaining while at a football training camp in Barcelona was so insightful.
“It’s so painful and hard to breathe, ma”. I constantly feel like there is something stuck in my throat and I have to cough it out to clear it so the air can travel to my lungs”, she complained during my most recent Skype conversation with her and her friend; who usually joins in this Skype conversations, nodding excitedly at their recent experience.

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It’s true what the Barca coaches said on the first day of The Advance Training Camp in KL, that he isn’t looking for the Messi. It takes more than just talent to make it this far.

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The Supergirls make it to Barcelona

Football was predominantly a male sporting activity but not anymore. Although they aren’t many woman footballers in the professional arena, as compared to men, it has not stopped girls from picking up this sport.

Thankfully these days you are able to find some all girls football teams like the Supergirls.

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photo courtesy of Astro

On September 2016, 7 players from the Supergirls moved on to Phase 2 for a five-day residential Advanced Training Camp in Kuala Lumpur. They were selected out of thousands of young footballers (ages 10 to 12 years) during a nationwide search by Astro Kem Bola 2016. This was a proud moment for all the Supergirls’ players, coaches and parents.

SEE ALSO: 7 Supergirls at Astro Kem Bola 2016

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(far left) Thurga, Lakei, Rania, Yasmin, Asheesh, Kanchen, Ashley (far right)

And for Phase 3, Astro Kem Bola 2016 programme,  4 of our girls have been selected for a 10-day Overseas Training Programme in Barcelona. They are currently undergoing a Pre-Barcelona Camp in Kuala Lumpur before they leave for a 10 Day Overseas Football Training in Barcelona, Spain.

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At Pre-Barcelona Camp: Thurga, Asheesh Kaur, Yasmin, Ashley (L-R)

They will take part in an immersive exchange programme which includes training under the local academy coaches, attending a live professional football match as well as a series of friendly matches against local youth sides, in Barcelona.

These girls, by that I mean each and every single Supergirls player has never ceased to amaze us with their dedication and love for the game.

We are particularly proud of what these four girls have achieved thus far and are rooting for more success for all girls from the Supergirls in the near future.

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The Supergirls is the first Malaysian grassroots all-girls football team between the ages of 6 to 12 years old. It was conceptualised in 2014 and it’s first training was held on 18 January 2014.

To date Supergirls have over 30 girls, aged between 6 to 12 years old. Enrollment is open throughout the year and all you need to be part of the Supergirls, is  the passion to play, regardless of skills.

“While no one would join the league without a love for football, our league is actually less about football and more about growing balanced kids and healthy families. We strongly encourage all parents to attend their children’s games, support them as they play and make life-long family memories. All officials are parents and other volunteers from the community. Our core values include unity, service and family” SJCSC vision statement

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Get in touch with the Supergirls via their Facebook page at Supergirls Subang Jaya Community Sports Club. Open to any girl aged 6 to 14 years old.

*Link Supergirls Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/sjcscsupergirls/

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