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This is the only residential football school for the girls in West Bengal. Debanjan Share Girls’ Academy (DSGA) is all set to inscribe its name in the field of Indian football fraternity. The seven potential girls were hired by Rainbow FC for the Kolkata Women’s Football League last year and Rainbow reached the quarterfinals, courtesy of an impressive show by those seven girls. Then the academy took part in a traditional women’s football tournament in North Bengal and there the academy finished in the runner position.
The Beginning of DSGA
The project was initiated by a Kolkata-based non-government organization Debanjan Sen Foundation and Share Football Club, Kalimpong. As its reflection, Debanjan Share Girls’ Academy (DSGA) was launched just before Covid-19 but had to stop its functioning due to the pandemic followed by the lockdown. So, the academy resumed its functioning last year. Debanjan Foundation looks after the football matters of the girls, providing kits, and food while Share Club Kalimpong looks after the education part of the girls. A local school has donated its building and ground to the club. Twenty potential girls between the ages of under-13 and under-17 have been selected to train and they are staying in the hostel.
The Academy Prospect
According to the academy coordinator Rocky Chettri, all 20 footballers are contracted. He said,
“Only two among the 20 girls are from Kalimpong town. Otherwise, all 18 girls are from remote villages and very poor families. But they are potential. One of our academy girls, Sujana Rai was even called up in the national under-17 girls’ preparatory camp.”
The academy chief coach is Joyobrata Ghosh and he has four more coaches including a lady-licensed coach Muskan Rai. Showing a professional attitude, DSGA has also mentioned an important clause in the contracts with the girls that once they sign for a professional team after being released and at 19 years, the girls have to deposit 25 percent of the contracted money to the academy.
The academy is trying to get accreditation from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and once it is done the DSGA will start taking part in the national-level age-group girls’ football tournaments, likely to be introduced at the end of this year.
Rocky Chettri divulged saying,
“We are in the process to get official permission from AIFF. Once we get it SGA can take part directly in the AIFF-affiliated tournaments. But we will participate in the sub-junior and junior tournaments. So far knowledge I have, the accreditation matter will be solved around in October and the federation is planning to introduce national-level age group girls’ competitions from the end of this year.”