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Girijadevi - The first women to be a coach in Goa Pro League


The SCC Cavelossim assistant coach is break boundaries and challenging perceptions in her remarkable journey in the beautiful game...

Girijadevi Desai, the assistant coach of Santa Cruz Club of Cavelossim has created history by becoming the first female coach in the Goa Professional League. The assistant coach, who is affectionately known as “Girija”, holds the AFC Women ‘C’ license and is the only female in India to hold the AFC Futsal Level-1 license.

Girija was born in the beautiful village of Cuncolim Goa. In her childhood long back in the early 80’s when every girl was busy playing with dolls and kitchen stuff, she was always seen with village boys playing football. Even after getting a scolding from her elder sister, she never stopped playing the game. However, her mother was always supportive of her in terms of buying sports equipment and accompanied her to national competitions.

She has played for Goa and Maharashtra in National Championships on many occasions. She has also represented Pune University football team in inter-university tournaments. Girija has also played for Mohun Bagan women’s team in 1999-2000, where they were the runners-up of the Women’s National League.

Girija has completed her Bachelors in Arts in 2000. later she did her Bachelors in Physical Education in 2003 and Masters in Physical Education in 2005 in Pune. She is presently working as a PE teacher in Ramcrisna Madeva Salgaocar Higher Secondary School, Goa.

She has represented Goa in many different games like Athletics, Handball, Cricket, Shooting, but Football was always her first love and passion. In between she drifted away from the sport due to an injury and took up pistol shooting where she won many national medals but somehow she could not derive satisfaction frpm her exploits elsewhere. For her, football is not only a game to compete in, but it is her addiction.

“Football is a game that teaches us the way of life.It is the game that is full of intellect and skills. Football runs in my blood. I always wanted to come back into the football world to help players be good footballers. I just wanted to impart what is important for footballers to be the great footballer and that's what I am crazy about,” Girija explains.

Though she is just an assistant coach of a professional club now, she wants to manage a senior state team and that will be her next career move.

When asked her about how she feels to be amongst all the top coaches in the GPL she said, “That's a feeling beyond comparison. For me, this is a golden opportunity to be among the top coaches and also to judge my talent with them. This opportunity is the stepping stone to becoming a successful football coach.”

She also believes that there is a vast difference male and female coaches. The energy level, performance level, their level of skills, their psychology, understanding, communication, etc are completely different. So she feels lucky and proud to be one among the coaches of GPL.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has recently started the Women’s National League and Girija wants state associations to follow suit.

“We also need to have women's football leagues in the states so that we can have as many women teams as possible. So that there are opportunities for the coaches to thrive. Also, through the women's league we can have good players to represent the state and the nation. No player can show his or her talent just when he or she is called for the selection camp, one needs to observe the player during the competition matches,” the assistant coach said.

Girija who is motivated by Oswald Dacosta (Physical Teacher of Rosary Higher Secondary School) who was also her football coach. She also gives credit to Severino Fernandes (Chief Coach of Santa Cruz Club of Cavelossim) and her best friend Anju Turambekar from the AIFF for her success as a coach. She is also thankful to the President of SCC Cavelossim Denizino for believing in her and giving her the opportunity to prove her calibre.


Editorial by Khel Now Correspondent Ravish Narvekar from Goa. A true Football enthusiast & a diehard Liverpool fan. Ravish also enjoys travelling & he's an avid foodie.

Published: Sat Dec 31, 2016 03:15 PM IST


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