Sunday , March 26 2023

Winning the SAFF U-20 trophy the ultimate goal for Astam Oraon!

Hailing from a family of farmers in the remote village of Gorratoli in the Gumla district of Jharkhand, Astam Oraon created history as she went on to lead the Indian National team in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup last year. She is currently part of the 23-member Indian team for the SAFF U-20 Women’s Championship to be played in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from February 3 to 9, 2023.

The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup may not have gone according to plans, but Astam is now determined to lift the trophy in Bangladesh and show everyone what women footballers in India are capable of.

“In Bangladesh, the goal is to reach the final, win it and lift the trophy. It doesn’t matter who we play against. We are single-minded to give everyone a tough fight and come out victorious,” Astam said.

In the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Astam and her teammates played against the USA, Morocco and Brazil. Many of them are back with the national team after three months for the upcoming SAFF U-20 Championship. Astam asserted she would not repeat the same mistakes and felt confident enough to face any team.

“The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is in the past. And now, it is our responsibility to give our best and learn from our mistakes.”

“It’s time to look forward and give our everything on the pitch. All of us are training hard every day, and the Bangladesh tournament will be a great opportunity to prove ourselves,” Astam added.

The left-back has been a part of the national setup at various age groups. Last year, she was an important member of the SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship-winning team in Jamshedpur. Astam has participated in the senior India camp as well and made her debut against Tunisia in a friendly match in 2021. With so much experience under her belt at such a young age, Astam is now ready to help her nation win another title.

“The SAFF U-20 will be a different challenge altogether, and we are all looking forward to it. It will be a different place, atmosphere, culture – but winning is important,” she said.

Apart from the core of the squad, which has been together since July 2022, the current team has some new faces as well. The team is staying at the same place as the Senior Women’s National team, who are preparing for the Olympic Qualifiers scheduled for April.

Astam and co are making the most out of training under two experienced coaches Thomas Dennerby and Maymol Rocky. Everyone staying and training together has helped a lot in team bonding.

“Learning new things from our two coaches and watching the seniors motivates us to work hard. It’s great to have everyone together again as we get to know each other more. We are always there for each other, and that’s the most important aspect of this team.”

“The best part about this camp is that we are with our seniors. We are watching them train, playing matches against them, and having useful conversations. I think this has helped us, youngsters, a lot,” said Astam.

“Nothing is better than getting to learn new things every day from two coaches at the same time. We feel lucky spending valuable time with both Thomas sir and Maymol ma’am. They let us know our rights and wrongs on the pitch. I think we will emerge as far better players under these two coaches,” Astam concluded.

The success of the Indian Women’s Team is high on the Federation’s list of priorities, and as per the objectives in Vision 2047, they have begun the process of maximising the International windows in order for our players to play more competitive matches. The Senior and U-20 Women’s National Teams are currently in camp in Chennai, where AIFF Media is also present, delivering a series of stories about the best women footballers from our land.

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