Every Tournament has its own story. Same goes for the recently concluded WIFA Women’s Championship which was held in Mumbai. Bodyline SC managed to score 25 goals in just four matches but it’s quite surprising as they bowed out of the Championship in the semi-final at the hands of eventual winners FC Pune City.
Out of those 25 goals scored, young forward Karen Pais notched up an astonishing 9 goals in just 4 matches including two hat-tricks in the Group Stages against finalists United Poona SA and Rahul FC. She also managed to score the equalizing goal in the semi-final against FC Pune City but it couldn’t mean enough for Bodyline SC as they crashed out via penalty shootout.
Karen finished as the top scorer and she was later awarded the ‘Golden Boot’. “It feels nice to win the ‘Golden Boot’ but I would have been happiest if we would have won the tournament,” Karen admitted.
When asked about Bodyline’s semi-final clash against FC Pune City, Karen responded: “I think FC Pune City played well. We missed a few chances which turned out to be costly. Overall, It was a tough match.“
She further added: “I really don’t know what went wrong. This is the way we play. I feel if we would have been a little more aggressive, we could have had a different result. But this is not to take away anything from FC Pune City as they played a superb match.“
Not taking Football as a profession or a career in India has been a major issue for a long time now. Even before turning 20, many amateur players stop playing Football due to various reasons, be it internal or external.
“I think AIFF and WIFA are already doing that. Look at the number of times the ‘D-license’ course is held, creating an opportunity for a job as a Coach. WIFA also have the Diploma Course in Football Management. The number of clubs for girls has also increased. The Women’s League started last year. We are on the right track, yes, but we can increase the speed of development a bit so that more and more youngsters can look for a career in Football,” Karen spoke up on an issue which has been really concerning over the years.
She also mentioned that it is her interest which has made her play Football, she said: “My inspiration from the start has been my interest in the game. I have always wanted to improve myself every day, I have just kept working harder to achieve my goals.“
“My parents have been very supportive and provided me with all the facilities required. That’s what made me so passionate about the game. I keep on raising the bar for myself and that’s enough inspiration for me,” Pais added.
Karen also feels that equal opportunities should be given to boys and girls for the betterment of Football in India.
“This year itself there was the Women’s Championship League for the first time. We also have the “Oorja” tournament going on, but we need ‘International’ Tournaments for Women’s team as well at all levels. Look at the fantastic efforts of AIFF in giving exposure to U -17 boys team for the last couple of years. I think that’s superb. I’m happy for the boys but I request AIFF to do the same for the girls as well.“
At last, Karen expressed how much Bodyline SC means to her, she expressed: “What can one say about one’s home. Bodyline is a ‘Home away from Home’ for me. I just feel I’m with my family when I am with the team. It’s fun even to practice with them. The warmth, the love, and the care that the Seniors in the team give to newcomers are worth appreciating.”
“Bodyline has a strong ‘value system’ in place. It is rightly said that ‘values are never taught, they are caught.’ In this respect, Marshal Sir and our Seniors Kimberly Ma’am, Juhi Ma’am and Durva Ma’am lead by example. I can only say that ‘I Love Bodyline”, Karen concluded.