Nadiya Nighat – A remarkable story of a Kashmiri girl

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Only a few get to live their dreams and only they know what it is during the times failing and rising up. 19-year-old footballer-cum-coach, Nadiya Nighat. Living her dream in Kashmir.

She breaks the stereotype that people have in mind about not just Kashmiri girls but in any state in the nation. She is a passionate footballer and started playing football when she was ten years old.

To reach her dreams, Her mentor and coach, Mohammad Abdullah plays a vital role. She said in a recent interview that he has taught her everything about football and it was his coaching she has started playing football.

The feisty girl competed at the national level through the Youth service and sports, 2010, against the Chandigarh team. In 2015, once again she got the chance to play at the national level through Jammu Kashmir Football Association.

Not only Nadiya but it is the situation of many other girls who step in the so-called men-centric world one being football and facing opposition from friends, family and relatives. She faced opposition from her mother and relatives but it was her father who convinced her family and gradually she had the support of her mother and family.

She is very thankful to Jammu Kashmir Football Association as they got her back at difficult times and she would not have made it at this level without them.

Coaching at Clubs
Nadiya along with football player is also a qualified coach. She holds the D-license for coaching which is recognised by FIFA.

Nadiya coaches under-19 players at two clubs. One is exclusively for boys and other for girls. With 30 boys in JJ7 club and 18 girls in Rambagh FC.

The name of the boys Club JJ7 is the initials of her nickname “Jiya Jan” and seven being the jersey number, Boys named her club JJ7.

This vibrant footballer is very enthusiastic about coaching. “My aim is to excel at football, in addition to giving excellent coaching support to young, upcoming footballers,” she says.

Nadiya being passionate about the sport does not charge a fee from her students stating passion and money don’t go hand in hand.

Owais Manzoor, one of her student has been part of her coaching class for three months. He says that he has learnt good football tricks from Nadiya. “When I saw her for the first time, I was shocked that a girl would coach me. But slowly, I saw how skilful she is at the game, and I realised that I can learn much from her. It is because of her that I have been selected for Panthchowk Panthers Club,” said Owais.

Lack of Infrastructure
As any player, Nadiya too despite the poor infrastructure in football stadiums and feels the lack of proper infrastructure is one of the reason parents feel hesitant to send their girls for practice.

She says Bakshi Stadium has better infrastructure occupied by the Indian Armed Forces. She hopes that one day, J&K has its own girls football team.

About her heroes
Nadiya is no different from us when it comes to having favourite heroes. She is a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo’s attitude, his passes and free kicks. Also, wear Number 7 jersey because Ronaldo does so.Loving Lionel Messi’s running and skills.
Nadiya’s message to young footballers is to seek excellence in the sport and keep playing.

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