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India’s Tanvie Who Bent It Like Beckham Even In Hostile Set-up

Any sports, as a full-fledged career option, receives very little exposure in India, except for cricket. Even a globally-popular game like football turns a few heads in our country. Situation gets far more foggy for women players but passion of Tanvie Hans (24) couldn’t be torn down by hardships.

Football, a magnificent game with billions of fan worldwide does not receive much attention in India except for in Kolkata, Goa and some parts of North East. The introduction of the Indian Super League for the last two years has pulled some much-needed attention and interest in Indian football. Women’s team sports create very little interest among the general public in India, be it cricket, football or hockey; compared to the male version.

In the middle of this sorry state of Indian Football with lacklustre infrastructure, couple of Delhi girls have been making India proud abroad in England. Tanvie Hans (24) representing Fulham Ladies FC in London at present is one of them. Chasing the dream of becoming a woman footballer in India is a herculean task and Tanvie made it a reality.

Everything started during her days in school after she became the captain of her school’s football team of Vasant Valley School, the first school in Delhi to have a girl’s football team. She represented Delhi at every level, including U-14s, U-16s, and U-19s. She is product of youth development program of the Eves Soccer Academy. As expected, she joined the Jesus and Mary College that has the best team in women’s football in Delhi University. Her continuous effort to excel through rigorous training under the watchful eyes of her coach, Chibbar sir made her the captain of the college team in the final year. She also trained with boys to keep herself at the top of her fitness.

The girl from Chandni Chowk never stopped there and went to do her masters to University of Exeter, UK. At first she could not get into the first team there, but her perseverance and determination gave her the success she deserves. Her performances for the second team earned her a place in the first team. It was around this time when she realised she should stay back in England and concentrate more on her game. The love of the game between the girls and the superior infrastructure in the UK was contributing factors behind her decision. And she was right and she got the recognition for her hard work. She eventually got a call from Tottenham Hotspur Ladies FC after a successful trial.

After that, back in 2008 she got a chance in a U-19 Indian camp, however, she was sidelined as she hold a British passport. Due to the same reason, she could not represent Indian even after attending the National Selection Camp in recent times. She is desperately looking for a dual-citizenship law that will help many aspiring sportsmen and women who are being denied in all sports because of the same. This will also help Indian Sport as a whole with talents of Indian origin trained in better facilities abroad can make a difference. She hopes, there will be an ISL for Women someday and she could play in it, having a few years of English experience under her belt.

In Tottenham Ladies the facilities are indeed world class and cannot be matched with any of its Indian counterparts. There are evening practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on Fridays, the club manager informs the group about the team composition which will play during the weekend. There are basically three levels in every team. The first team is at the top level, the second team is quite similar to the first team and the third team is the reserves where Tanvie used to play. There is tough yet healthy competition that will only make her a better footballer.

Her success on the pitch made the UK-based filmmaker, Gurinder Chadha (famous for directing ‘Bend It like Beckham’), to come up a musical under the same title and Tanvie features quite prominently in the promotional posters.

She has latter joined Fulham Ladies FC to accept some new challenges. Tanvie was recently nominated for the ‘Woman in Football’ award for the 3rd Asian Football Awards in 2015, a testimony to how successful she has been. We from KenFolios wish her all the best in her life.

Written by Debopam Bannerjee

Breathes biotechnology, feeds content to e-hungry beings. Watch out if you see me with a camera.