Young footballer Asheesh Kaur, 13, is creating waves. She was recently selected to join the Malaysian under-15 girls team for an international tourney in Hong Kong. There, she was proud to don the national jersey!
The journey began at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) carnival at Wisma FAM in November 2017 when she played defender for the Selangor state team. Selangor defeated the other state teams and finished second after losing to GDT Singapore by one nil.
Asheesh, who started playing football at 9, has always been athletic. At school, she was the netball team captain and a runner as well. In 2017, she bagged the school’s Sports Girl award.
In 2016, Asheeh, she proved herself at Astro’s Kem Bola when she was selected to join 31 others for a 10-day training at FCB Escola in Barcelona, Spain.
At the national level, Steffi Sarge Kaur is the first Sikh woman to don the national jersey. The Malaysian women’s international footballer and futsal player was part of the football team at the 2007 Southeast Asian Games and the national futsal team which won the bronze medal at the 2013 Southeast Asian Games.
Asia Samachar spoke to the young footballer. Excerpts:
AS: How did it feel to be selected to play for the national team?
AK: It was a mixed feeling. I was very happy but nervous at the same time.
AS: How did you prepare for this tournament?
AK: I only had two weeks before traveling to Sabah to train under the national coach and with the rest of the team. I had to ensure I was fit for the hectic training at the Malaysian Sports School Sabah. Luckily I am part of the athletics team in my current school. The training I received helped. I also trained daily with a national football development program coach. His coaching was tough. He made me run barefooted for 30 minutes straight everyday before I could even touch the ball. I also received invaluable guidance from my former state sport’s school coach. He helped me train with a former Malaysian team player.
AS: How was the training in Sabah?
AK: I was afraid in the beginning because I heard they train hard but luckily I could keep up. The coach slowly eased me into their training. I had to wait and watch before I could play. I guess that’s normal because I needed to learn their style.
AS: How long were you away for?
AK: I spent seven days in Sabah Sports School and five days in Hong Kong.
AS: How did you handle being away?
AK: Again, I had mixed feelings. I felt uneasy especially at night because this is my first time being away, completely on my own. However I was fine when I was training. I wasn’t homesick when I was playing football. Only when I had nothing to do, I felt very homesick but once in Hong Kong, I got used to it by the next day. I think I just needed time to adjust.
AS: Tell us about Hong Kong?
AK: We played against three other teams; Bangladesh, Hong Kong and Iran. We did poorly in our first match against Bangladesh. The team got acclimatised and played better against Hong Kong and Iran. It was a good learning experience.
AS: What’s next?
AK: I’m going to keep on training. It started two days after returning from Hong Kong. I am hoping to be selected again to represent our national team. I want to be ready when that happens.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com] 18594
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