Contributed by Maxon Sequeira
Rural Development Trust’s (RDT) Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) could still hear blissful echoes of the 2015 Andhra Pradesh Junior Women’s Hockey State Championship from the preceding weekend. Women’s sport in Anantapur got another boost as the Anantapur Football League (AFL) 2015 officials decided to start the first ever Anantapur Football League for Girls towards the end of the first leg of the 2015 AFL.
The AFL 2015 officials organized a meeting with all the Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) mandals to finalize guidelines and rules for the Girls AFL that shall kick off its inaugural season towards the end of this year. The ASA, through this meeting also assessed each mandal’s contribution towards the AFL, in terms of participants and officials. This would also ascertain the way ahead for the Girls AFL.
A total of about 30 officials and coaches from the 20 mandals of Anantapur attended the meeting presided by ASA’s Head Coach, Miquel Llado and Assistant Head Coach, P. Vijayabhaskar. The Girls AFL 2015 will run parallel to AFL 2015, kicking off on December 13th and continuing until 31st January 2016. The dates of the league are being scheduled very strategically to allow the participants of both the AFL & Girls AFL to switch back to their school routines in February and focus on their education to tackle their end-of-year exams as well.
The inaugural season will see a total of 10 teams participate in the Girls AFL with about 4 mandals already committing to field a full squad of 15 girls each. The rest of the mandals will confirm their teams by next week. The tournament will be organized as an Under-18 tournament to ensure maximum participation from the girls. A unanimously decided rule was that each of the teams will have to appoint at least one woman as a team management official.
Such steps will help develop and spur the increased participation of girls among the mandals. This will bring about a revolutionary change towards the framework of our society that is plagued by the shackles of a mental block, that emanates from most, believing that women do not belong outdoors and should remain hidden within the confines of their homes.
“The idea behind the Girls AFL is to bring forth a change in the mindsets of women and girls in the district of Anantapur towards the positive use of sport, particularly football. Secondly, the Girls AFL is our step towards ‘Gender Equality’ and will pave a way forward to develop a girls’ team at the ASV.” – Miquel Llado, Head Coach of the ASA