Last year, Afshan Ashiq’s picture as an angry Kashmiri girl pelting stones at the J&K police, got her into national media spotlight.
She was an avid footballer and turned around her sporting career. She also helped introduce many young Kashmiri girls to what was hitherto a male-dominated sport.
The photograph got her “noticed” as the “Kashmiri footballer forced to vent her anger by pelting stones”. Meetings with J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti followed, who decided to do her bit to promote both Afshan and women’s football in J&K.
Afshan is now captain and goalkeeper of the J&K women’s football team that is getting exposure at the national level and competing in the Indian Women’s League. The 23-year-old also plays for a Mumbai club and has even inspired a Bollywood biopic on her life.
On Tuesday, Afshan along with her 22-member football team. Coach Satpal Singh Kala and manager Tsering Angmo called on Union home minister Rajnath Singh. Afshan told TOI that she sought the home minister’s intervention to start a Sports Authority of India (SAI) Institute in Kashmir to nourish and train young girls to play football.
Ashiq and Angmo thanked Singh for listening to them and for speaking to the chief minister about their problems. Later, the home minister tweeted, “Met the young and energetic girls of JK’s first ever Women Football Team. They are highly motivated and driven when it comes to football.”