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Indian Women"s League (IWL)

Kickstart FC's Rasiga shines in the KWL even as she juggles work with football

Kickstart FC currently top the KWL points table and a lot of that has to do with the defensive performances of Rasiga.

IWL KWL Womens Football Kickstart FC
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Rasiga M. in action for Kickstart FC in the KWL

By

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 17 March 2021 7:20 AM GMT

One of the most difficult balancing acts that young Indian adults have to manage in life is making time for sport in between their work commitments. But when you are playing a physically intensive sport like football at a considerably high level, that task becomes all the more difficult. That is exactly the dilemma that Kickstart FC defender Rasiga has had to face.

The 22-year-old who originally hails from Tamil Nadu, has been an alumni of Shanti Bhavan, a non-profit organisation that runs a well-known pre K-12 residential school and is well known for its work with underprivileged children. She came to Bangalore to pursue her bachelors at Christ University and that is when her pre-existing passion for football took a tangible form. She has since played in the senior nationals twice as well as the Super Division. However, playing in the Indian Women's League (IWL) had never really materialized for the youngster because of her work with Exxon Mobil, an American multinational oil and gas corporation.

This season has been different though. Rasiga's team Kickstart FC are the current league leaders in the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA) Women's Super Division, also known as the Karnataka Women's League (KWL). With one match to go, they are a point ahead of Bangalore United FC, their nearest rivals, and have a healthy goal difference of +36. What's even more interesting is that these two teams are going to square off against each other in the last match of the campaign where even a draw should be enough for Kickstart to book their place in the IWL proper.

"I'd been at Shanti Bhavan since the age of three. Growing up, we had access to a lot of sports and for me it was always between basketball and football but I soon realised that I liked football better," Rasiga says about her alma mater before adding, "The school helped me get enrolled at Christ and has supported me throughout, which is why I am now trying to give back to them in whatever manner I can."

The Cristiano Ronaldo fan believes that the footballing scene for women in the country is on the rise. "Right now, I feel women's football is definitely improving. At least in Bangalore, we have a lot of tournaments which is why a lot of players are also being brought in from other states. That has made it a little bit harder for those from within Bangalore but it has also made it way more competitive which is a good thing," she explains.

Although her team is in the fray for qualification into the IWL, Rasiga fears that she might not be able to feature in the premier women's league that much. "I have already taken a lot of leaves from my office. Although they are extremely supportive, I don't think I will be able to manage any more leaves because I also need to support my family, especially my younger sister's education," she says with a wry smile.

What this once again brings to light is the lack of money in sports other than cricket, especially in the lower tiers. For people like Rasiga who have familial responsibilities, it becomes even more difficult as there is no stable income to fall back on from the sport that they choose to follow. Unless that changes, India will continue to gravitate towards being a country of lost talents who give up on their dreams due to constraints that are majorly out of their control.

(Image credits: Md. Arsalan)

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