Sittingbourne's little girls football team seeks sponsorship

Subhasini Naicker Wednesday 12th June 2024 06:51 EDT

In the town of Sittingbourne, a spirited football team of young girls, under the age of 8, known as the WOODCOOMBE Lionesses Youth U8, embarked on their journey in September 2022. With a passion for the sport and dreams of athletic achievement, these budding athletes eagerly took to the field. However, as the UK economy faces challenges, the local businesses that once generously supported such initiatives are no longer able to contribute to the team's needs, particularly for essential equipment like football kits. In light of this, the dedicated managers, coaches, and supportive parents of the football club are reaching out to the community for sponsorship.
Speaking to Asian Voice, Abhra Malkar, a Technical Architecture at TCS and a parent whose daughter, Atmaja Malakar, is a member of the football club, shared his insights said, “Over the past two years, our girls' football team, which started in September 2022, received sponsorship from local businesses like mortgage advisors and landscaping companies. However, these sponsors are unable to continue their support as they feel the exposure they receive is limited due to the team's small size. Now, as the girls transition to the under-nine category and require new kits and equipment, we are seeking additional funding. Playing against boys' teams has significantly improved the girls' skills, and they have not lost to any girls' teams in the past year. Despite the modest amount needed, our coaches and managers are appealing to parents and community members to help secure the necessary funds.”

Abhra highlighted the importance of promoting the crowdfunding campaign to ensure the team's continuity. He expressed, “As a parent over the past two years, I've witnessed a remarkable transformation in many children, especially those diagnosed with autism or ADHD within our football team. Despite facing personal and academic challenges, when they step onto the pitch for practice or matches, they undergo a remarkable change. It's incredible to see how these children, including some girls on the team, exude confidence and focus, despite their diagnoses. Football acts as a catalyst for their personal growth, providing them with a sense of belonging and achievement that extends beyond the sport itself.”

“I've seen this firsthand with my daughter. After a setback last year, she considered leaving the game but returned with newfound confidence. This shows how football teaches resilience and teamwork, shaping their future success,” she added.
Abhara emphasised about supporting his daughter in sports, he said, “Coming from an Indian background where academics take precedence, I've longed for a stronger emphasis on sports. Despite excelling academically, I've recognised the value of sports encouragement. Upon moving to the UK in 2020, I prioritised finding football training for my three-year-old daughter. Despite the lack of such opportunities in India, I've ensured my daughters participate in various sports activities like football, gymnastics, and judo here. While education remains crucial, I believe in fostering a balanced approach, encouraging their interests in sports. Through sports, children learn essential life skills like teamwork, confidence, and leadership, invaluable for their personal development.”

Speaking about the involvement of the girls in the football club, he said, “This club has various teams catering to different age groups and skill levels, starting from under sevens up to adult teams competing in leagues. They also run the FA Wildcats program every Tuesday, encouraging girls aged 5 to 11 to join. This initiative serves as a gateway for girls interested in football to explore the sport before joining the club's teams.” Abhra highlighted that as a parent new to the area from India, shared how his daughter started in the Wildcats program and smoothly progressed to the under-7 team. He praises the club for its inclusive environment and supportive community, where both players and parents feel welcomed and valued, regardless of background or performance level.

In conversations with the players, team captain Rose Dunn shared her passion for being part of a team, emphasising the empowerment that comes from proving stereotypes wrong. She finds excitement in pivotal moments such as scoring goals or witnessing remarkable saves by goalkeeper Lucy. Rose's fondest memory remains their victory at the Wateringbury festival, underscoring the team's spirit and determination.

Player Atmaja Malkar expressed her delight in playing alongside her teammates, relishing the joy and energy of both games and practice sessions. A standout moment for her was scoring a free kick during a match, bringing her immense joy. Atmaja highlighted the team's resilience and unity, encouraging others to support their endeavours.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter