West Bengal’s Football Strength: Jhargram’s Young Talents Shine at National Games
Discover how young girls from Jhargram, West Bengal, are making a mark in women’s football, forming a significant part of the state team competing at the 37th National Games.
In a remarkable show of talent and determination, young girls from Jhargram, a small town in the South West region of West Bengal, have become an integral part of the state’s women’s football team competing at the 37th National Games. Despite coming from humble backgrounds with parents engaged in small-scale farming or odd jobs, these youngsters display an unparalleled passion for playing football.
During West Bengal’s first-round match against Tamil Nadu at Tilak Maidan, nearly 40 percent of the players in the starting lineup hail from Jhargram, including Tulsi Hemran, Mugli Hemran, Mamata Sing, and Mamata Mahata.
These girls, with their hard work and dedication, have kept West Bengal’s aspirations alive during the intense 90-minute game. Although West Bengal missed scoring opportunities against a determined Tamil Nadu side, the match concluded in a goalless draw.
Tulsi, a 23-year-old player, expressed her disappointment after the game, saying, “We were hoping to secure a win, but narrowly missed the chance.”
Her journey in soccer began during her school days, and over the past decade, she has been deeply involved in the sport. “I started playing football during my school days, receiving support from the school, which allowed me to practice and play,” she mentioned. She further added, “As a teenager, watching Messi on TV inspired me. He is my idol, and I aspire to achieve greatness like him.”
To pursue their passion and support their families, these aspiring footballers have enrolled in the West Bengal Police Department sports quota scheme, receiving a monthly stipend of Rs 9,000.
Mugli, 22, explained, “The majority of girls in Jhargram play soccer to overcome poverty. Although we may not earn huge amounts, the support we receive allows us to assist our families and continue playing football.”
Despite limited resources, these young players participate in women’s leagues and secure additional funds, showcasing their unwavering dedication to keep football alive, especially in Jhargram.