Immediately after finishing her Class XII examinations,Tanvi Bhargava,17,the star female football player from Chandigarh,had two options: either to take part in the football tournament in the Under-19 National School Games or move to Bengal to polish her skills with any professional club that she deemed,suits her style. Well,neither happened. The Chandigarh women team wasn’t part of the National School Games and before she could leave for Bengal,another assignment- far more interesting and life-changing- came her way. The call was from Satvir Rana,the owner of Jaguar Eves- an academy from Delhi,who asked Tanvi to form her own football team. She was also gievn the task to invite people from all over India to become a part of it.
“There is hardly any support as far as women soccer in India is concerned. So,when this opportunity came my way,I gave more importance to help in the promotion of women football rather than being selfish and train in Bengal. And since I have been part of the Chandigarh team for the last four-five years,I know who are the good players in the team. So,I made a list of the players myself and then called them all for a meeting. Once the team was formed,I arranged for other things,including training,coaching and matches as well,” said Tanvi,the truly well-known face of Chandigarh women football.
However,more challenges awaited them. The team was formed but they didn’t have the ground where they could do the training. The first and foremost choice was the football ground in St Stephen’s School in Sector 45,where Tanvi did her schooling. But where could Tanvi’s team be adjusted,as trainees of Stephen’s own football academy trained twice daily on the same ground?
So,they went ground-hunting and stumbled upon the DAV-8 Academy in Chandigarh. “I spoke to Thapa sir and apart from getting the ground for training,we also found an able coach in him. He has been a great support for all of us,” added Tanvi.
After working on the basics,the permutation and combination of the team- which she named First Steps football club,they went to play to play with another football club called the Diamonds FC,which was the embassy team comprising of foreigners.
However,Tanvi’s work was far from over. Working as the coordinator with Jaguar Eves- an academy that is working to promote football in India and has also few players on contract,thus providing financial support to professional players- Tanvi,over the next few weeks,will try to rope in players and teams and then take this initiative to another level. And if possible,Tanvi will try to make it a monthly event starting from July.
“I would be sending emails to all schools in India next month and try to put up a major event in which as many as 25 teams will take part . The aim is to help in providing a platform to female football players who never got the chance to play. Also,we are trying to get scouts to look at the players during the matches and help them in getting a contract. Some are from poor background,like two in my own team,and we want them to earn a living through this game,” added the former captain of the Indian U-13 and -16 football teams.
On Saturday,Tanvi will organise a six-a-side football tournament at the St Stephen’s ground in Sector 45,where teams from Delhi will also be seen in action. The main matches would be played the following day.
Once this assignment is over,Tanvi will move to the United States of America in August as she has taken admission in Claremont McKenna College in Los Angeles. Tanvi had the luxury of choosing between European and American colleges so that she could take her career in another direction but she chose America as she says the move will give another push to her booming career in football. Two years ago,she travelled to Spain to train with the Spanish League giants,Real Madrid. She was the lone female player from India to be called for the camp.
“Before moving to the United States,I wanted to do something to promote women football in India. I could have utilised the time to work on my skills,but now I can go to America with a contended heart,” she signed-off.