Football fever

‘My life has changed forever’: Stone-pelter-turned-goalkeeper captains Jammu and Kashmir

Afshan Ashiq said that she was assured by Home Minister Rajnath Singh of better facilities in the valley in the near future.

As a disgruntled student, Afshan Ashiq led other girls in throwing stones at the police on Srinagar streets. On Tuesday, the captain of Jammu and Kashmir’s women’s football team spoke about her dream transformation.

The 21-year-old Ashiq walked across the lawns of the residence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, saying she does not want to “look back.”: “My life has changed forever. I want to be an achiever and do something to make the state and the nation proud,” said Ashiq, whose life story may soon be turned into a biopic.

On Tueday, it was announced that Bollywood actor Gulshan Grover and son Sanjay would produce a biopic on Ashiq titled Hope Solo.

She led her 22-member football team that called on Singh, along with three officials. Ashiq said that Singh had assured her of better training facilities in the future. Ashiq also observed that the Kashmir Valley is brimming with talent and all that they required was a platform.“The minister also told us that Rs 100 crore had already been sanctioned for the state.”

Her life has made a dramatic U-turn since the days when her picture was splashed across national media as a stone-pelter. The same hands now thwart the efforts of attackers.

During the 30-minute meeting with Singh, the team members conveyed to him that if proper infrastructure – such as training facilities – came up in Jammu and Kashmir, the youth could be motivated to bring laurels to the land, and stay away from unlawful activities.

Team manager Tsering Angmo said the sports infrastructure in the border areas was particularly poor and needed urgent attention, “With proper infrastructure in place, the youth can take up sports to nourish their talents and no one can brainwash anyone. No one will join terrorism or indulge in stone pelting,” Angmo, who is from Ladakh, said.

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