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Yolanda D’Souza was a star in Indian women’s football. She was the only Indian striker who scored an international hat-trick and the record still prevails, even after 47 years. Yolanda also played an instrumental role in Indian women’s World Cup participation in Taiwan and one of the key members of the silver-winning national women’s team in the Asian Cup, held in Kozhikode (then Calicut) in 1979. As a part of her glorious career where she had scored goals galore in both international and national competitions, Yolanda was voted ‘Player of Decade’ by the Women’s Football Federation in 1980.
The star of the 70s and 80s has been a professional painter for the last 40 years. Yolanda said,
“I studied at Maharashtra College when i used to play. I knew it would not be possible for me to maintain the same standard while growing older. So, my passion turned to painting.”
The Journey of Yolanda D’Souza
Yolanda started playing football with her brother Francisco and other young boys in Calangute where she was born and brought up. But in 1973, Yolanda dished out a brilliant show, after scoring a goal in a match against a men’s team from a neighboring village and that was turning point in her sports career. Then she was called up to the Goa state team and she scored many goals in the national championship in 1975 and got into the national side. Then in 1976 against a Swedish club named BET, Yolanda struck the hat-trick.
Yolanda D’Souza: World Cup Memory
“If you ask me about a little bit of regret in my football career, I would say that we did not have an experienced coach in the World Cup. We forced the champion Germany to make a draw in our opening match by exhibiting wonderful skills. We won against Hong Kong easily. Among the 14 participating teams we lost in the quarter-final.”
On the development of Indian women’s football
Yolanda feels the AIFF must increase the number of competitions for women at both junior and senior levels in India. She stated,
“Women’s football team is ranked 61st in Fifa. So, if they are nurtured properly then we have a bright chance of participating in the Olympics and World Cup final phase.