Daredevils aside, as per wisdom, it is important to learn how to swim in a pond before jumping into the sea. And according to the Mumbai School Sports Association’s (MSSA) Sub Junior Women's Team Coach Ignatius Placidus D'Souza, the future editions of Hockey India Sub Junior Women Academy National Championships will help young girls beat the nerves for bigger occasions.
“Our girls seldom get a chance at national level so this tournament among national academies will be a game changer for them,” says the coach.
“The sad reality is that most of the girls who dream big are deprived of exposure and thus are unable to prove themselves on big occasions despite having the talent. Many of them don’t even want to attempt the state trials because at the local level when one is not able to beat the blues then why to go for state.” The coach explained.
The coach informed that girls from Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex and Kolhapur district are a notch up in quality because of playing more games against better sides.
“When girls from Mumbai go for state trials, they know that girls training at Balewadi Sports Complex from Pune, and girls from Kolhapur district have had better exposure then they have had. So many of them come and say..... ‘Arre jaane do yaar..kyu jaaye hum itna lamba...’
According to the coach, the juniors have to bare their expenses of travel, stay and then come back dejected. With this new tournament on the bloc, the girls can travel with the team, learn new skills, gain experience and get a national level participation certificate as well.
“The quality of the MSSA teams will get better as schools will encourage participation for national academic tournaments, enabling stronger state teams overall. A national committee could then prepare a pool of 100 to 200 players from these academies for national team trials.”
“I have seen the flair with which SAI Academy and Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre played in the final at the iconic Kalinga Stadium in Odisha. To see our girls perform at a stadium where world cup was hosted and that too play under flood lights was a phenomenal feeling. So it gives us motivation to raise our bar for the next edition,” the coach concluded.
The tournament that commenced on March 17 and ended on March 26 had participation of 14 Hockey India-Affiliated Academy teams in the Junior Women’s category and 10 teams in the Sub-Junior category. SAI academy was the winner of both the tournaments.
The event was hosted by the Department of Sports and Youth Services (DSYS), Govt. of Odisha & Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre under the patronage of the parent body Hockey India.