Former footballer and Kerala’s first female football coach, Fousiya Mambatta passed away on Friday morning. The 52-year-old had been fighting breast cancer for a few years now. A tireless champion for women’s football in Kerala, Fousiya had been coaching girls in the state for almost two decades and played a huge role in the inclusion of girls’ football in the School Games in Kerala. She had been working as a coach at Nadakkavu School in Kozhikode for the past few years.
Originally from Vellimadukunnu in Kozhikode, Fousiya rose to prominence while playing as a goalkeeper for the Kerala Women’s team in the national games and the All India Junior Women’s Championship. An ever-present figure in Kerala’s footballing landscape, she took up coaching after her playing days and has trained quite a few players who have ended up playing for the national team and other competitions. However, her fight against gender prejudice in sports through sheer spirit and determination will stay on as her lasting legacy.
Besides football, Fousiya was adept at a number of different sports. She was a handball player in school going on to represent the state team, a state champion in weightlifting and had even finished third in power lifting in South India. Furthermore, she was a bronze medalist in Judo from Kerala as well as a member of Kerala’s hockey and volleyball teams. Since the start of her coaching journey in 2003, she has overseen the Kozhikode team that finished runners up between 2005 and 2007 in the sub-junior and junior categories as well the Kerala state team that finished third in the national senior women’s football tournament held in Manipur in 2005. Moreover, she was the assistant coach of the state side which came second in the national senior championship in 2006 which was held in Odisha.
(with inputs from Matrubhumi.com)