Afshan – Kashmiri female footballer is a story of opportunities that youth need

Binoo Joshi

Afshan  Ashiq, a young girl now the captain of the  J&K football team  dreaming high to score  more challenging  goals in her life  is a new  narrative  from Kashmir where  youth need opportunities .

At this moment when she met  Union Home Minister  Rajnath Singh  she  personified  hope, promise  and ambition as a  footballer who wanted to excel by  her feat in the game . It is a  great transformation of sorts. A  few months ago Afshan was  seen an angry young girl armed with stones targeting the police vehicles  to given vent to her emotions . That was  result of an atmosphere because  the street turmoil  had  killed their hopes and the youth saw nothing great emerging for them as the stone throwing was the only art that they could perfect with devastating consequences . They were in search of opportunities.

When their streets were cleared of the stone throwing and the  sports fields  were opened  for exhibiting their talent , they knew that the goal posts had changed . They were trying to make sense of their talent and live up to their ambition to do something .

Afshan  is not alone . There are many, many more like her  who want to  shed the image of a stone thrower and come with their real image of an excellent sportsperson.

There is a need to listen to them. As she herself told media that her transformation came after she and others were  heard out  by the Home Minister and surprised them with his immense patience  to  listen to all what they had to say. “ It  was a great feeling,” she told media in New Delhi on Tuesday after meeting the Home Minister .

Recently, when the Union Home Ministry and the state government decided to set free the stone pelters , the idea  was not just to meet the demand of their parents and friends  but also  to chart a new course for them . That can come only when there are sufficient opportunities . All former stone pelters are not looking for government jobs, they have their passion  for different professions. They need opportunities . That is what matters the most. Afshan has shown the way.

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