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Home ยป From fighting poverty to FIFA U-17 World Cup: Story of Astam Oraon

From fighting poverty to FIFA U-17 World Cup: Story of Astam Oraon

From fighting poverty to FIFA U-17 World Cup: Story of Astam Oraon

India’s captain Astam Oraon looked nervously confident on the eve of her team’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 opening match against the United States at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

India’s U-17 women’s football team will make history when they take on the United States in the opening match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. This will be the first time that the Indian women’s team has participated in a FIFA event of any kind. The woman leading this historic team is Astam Oraon.

Astam Oraon hails from the remote village of Gorratoli in the Gumla district of Jharkhand, which is infamous for being infested with Maoists. Oraon was born into a fairly poor family of farmers. The third daughter of her parents Heeralal Oraon and Tara Devi, she has four sisters and one brother. Her family had to fight against extreme poverty and hunger.

Addressing the media at the official pre-match press conference, along with India’s head coach Thomas Dennerby, Oraon said his teammates are “very excited” ahead of the main event. “The team is excited to play against the USA. It’s good to finally start the tournament. We have been training well together for the past six or seven months. Tomorrow, we have to express ourselves on the field,” said Oraon, who hails from the Gumla district of Jharkhand.

Pointing to the importance of performing well on the pitch, Dennerby said: “Performance is key for us. And I hope the girls are not too nervous and play with confidence. You can’t be nervous and play at the same time.” Time to get the ball rolling.”

Oraon’s parents are farm labourers for hire, so hard work is ingrained in this tough and deep advocate. And she expects the same tough attitude from her team. “All our focus is on the next matches. Nothing else matters to us now. We need to rest well today. All of our players feel strong, both physically and mentally. We will give our opponents a good fight tomorrow,” she said.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren congratulated Oraon and other players on their selection for the Indian team.

“The Indian national football team has been announced for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. It is a historic occasion when one of our state’s girls has been selected to lead the team and five others have been selected on the team. I would like to congratulate the girls and extend my blessings to all the players selected in the Indian team for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Organized training for the U-17 team in Jamshedpur for almost two years has been fruitful. Congratulations and Johar again to the whole team,” the prime minister said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The statement from the prime minister’s secretariat indicated that during the lockdown in 2020, the players selected in the probable Indian for FIFA U-17 had to return to Jharkhand from Goa. Due to the poor financial situation of most of the players, the necessary preparations and a proper diet was lacking. After the matter came to the notice of the prime minister, the state sports department arranged for the players’ training and diet.

“All of these players were taken to Ranchi and provided with medical facilities and kept in the Government Guest School. According to the menu of the national team, food and camping arrangements were arranged for them at the Morabadi football stadium two coaches. Following this, the world-class training facility of the Indian team for the FIFA World Cup was secured in Jamshedpur on the instruction of the Prime Minister for nearly 10 months,” the statement added.

Team India’s Young Tigresses are drawn from Group A, along with the USA, Morocco (match Oct. 14) and Brazil (Oct. 17) in the four-group, 16-team competition taking place in Bhubaneswar, Margao and Navi Mumbai. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the quarterfinals. The other participating teams are Germany, Nigeria, Chile, New Zealand (all from Group B), Spain, Colombia, Mexico, China (all from Group C), Japan, Tanzania, Canada, and France (all from Group D).


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