It rarely happens that a quality goal from a quality footballer goes viral in a cricket-crazy nation like India. A great catch? Sure. But a great goal? Not quite so. And what to say when the goal is from a 20-year-old women footballer?
Well, when a young Delhi-based player scored a superb goal from 40 yards out, the fans in the Jawaharlal Stadium watched with bated breath. The super strike soon went viral on social media. This is Dalima Chhibber for you. A player that can make even the ardent cricket fans fall in love with football.
About today's match, the goal that I scored from 40 yards out against IGAS in the second edition of IWL.#shepower #DC17
Posted by Dalima Chhibber on Wednesday, 28 March 2018
“I took up football out of pure interest,” Dalima says to KreedOn. She started to play at the age of 9 and was ably supported by her father. “He is not only my father but also my coach,” she recalls fondly.
A Family of Sportspersons
Dalima was born in a family of athletes. While her father was an athlete, her mother, a librarian and was a former sportsperson too. Her younger brother is both a triple jumper and a footballer. The elder sister, who is working now, was also a sports person.
With the sports running through her veins, it is not too hard to imagine why Dalima chose a career in the same.
To my constant guide, my coach, father, all in one. Thank you for everything and for pushing me to work hard and be where I am today. Happy Birthday Papa! ❤❤ pic.twitter.com/xOS7GJVCY5
— Dalima Chhibber (@DalimaChhibber) December 8, 2018
The initial interest culminated into a full-fledged passion. With family support, the youngster went on to represent India at the U14, U16, U19 levels before going on to feature in the senior side.
“My first international competition when I represented the U-14 Indian team,” says Dalima when quizzed about the moment that changed the course of her career. She was 13 at the time.
Dalima, who can play as a right-back, centre-back, or a central midfielder, is currently competing in IWL’s second chapter. Earlier, the 21-year-old had also played for Indian Super League (ISL) team FC Pune City.
Talking about her struggles to KreedOn, she informs how there were no girls to play with. “I was the only girl to play football when I started. I grew to play up with guys,” she recollects. Dalima would tag along with her father on the football fields. It was there that the interest for the game emerged.
In spite of the growing opportunities for the female footballers in the country, Dalima still feels that their future in India could be as bright as their male counterparts.
The 2016 SAFF Women’s Championship winner also informs that the payment for her colleagues is not sufficient, making them do a job simultaneously along with football duties.
“Women Footballers Need Recognition”
Although Dalima is content with international friendlies, she believes that they need to increase such exposure trips. In her opinion, playing against compatriots doesn’t promote growth. Lastly, she also feels that women footballers don’t get the attention they deserve.
[Tweet ““Women footballers are not known (to the general public) at all. I want to bring up the sport and create awareness for the same,” says Dalima, who likes to bake and read in the free time.”]
The Indian women’s team is doing exceedingly well. They are ranked 62nd in the world, with a potential to further excel, provided their demands are heard.
No dream is impossible … if we come together and believe that this dream will come true.
— Dalima Chhibber (@DalimaChhibber) December 29, 2018
On the brighter side though, the facilities at grassroots-level football have improved than when she started playing. She also believes that more girls between 6-10 years of age are taking up football.
Ask about her long term ambition in her career and she replies without a speck of doubt, “To play in Europe for a well-known club.”
We wish Dalima all the very best for her future endeavours. We are proud of this sportsperson – a woman breaking stereotypes and proving her impeccable mark in the field of sports