Sonatola High School girls bring success
Nirapad News : Typical village girls from the underprivileged community of Sonalota have proven their ability to bring success for themselves as well as for the villagers through football. They are now the pride of villagers. Combating against social conservativeness, the young girls of Sonatola village of Santhia upazila of Pabna and also the students of ‘Sonatola High School’, formed a football team in the school in 2011. This year they’ve won at the upazila level, district level and the divisional level.
Sonatola High School was established in ‘Sonatola’ village beside the ‘Ichamati’ river five kilometers away from the upazila Sadar in 1971, just after the liberation war. The school has become better known in the region following the success of its footballer girls. “Firstly, we formed a boys football team and participated in different competitions but the team did not find much success. Later we attempted to form a girl’s football team but the villagers were an obstacle,” said Md. Enamul Haque, physical training teacher of the school. “Braving social conservativeness, we decided to go forward with a few girls in 2011, and now 22 girl students are in the team following the brilliant performances of the team!”
“Beside their regular academic activities, the team members now prepare themselves as the professional players with regular coaching in the school.” Enamul added. Girls’ football team of the school participated in the ‘Inter School-Madrasa Football Competition’ in 2013 for the first time and became champion in upazila level, district level, divisional level and the regional level (Rajshahi and Rangpur division). The team joined national competition but yet to achieve any success this year.
“During national competition our team captain Emili was injured so our team could not perform at their best at the national level.” Enamul said adding that the girls of the school also participated in national athletic competition last year achieved two gold medals. Gradual success inspired the team members to do better. “We could not get success in national level but we are hopeful that we will win at the national competition next year.” Emili Khatun, captain of the team said. “We do not have proper facility of practice due to lack of a football field in the village. We are just continuing our practice in the school field which is not enough for the competition,” Emili added. The players in the team belong to poor families of the village who often do not get proper nutrition. “Proper nutrition is essential for football players but in our team most of the 22 players belong to poor families of the village.”
Headmaster of the school Md. Golam Moula said a Canadian immigrant originally of the village arranged a support of Tk. 400 weekly for the players seeing their gradual success. “With the amount we arrange an egg, a banana everyday of the week among the players while they used to get chickpeas every day.” The headmaster said adding that they need more support. The school cannot support their star players properly since they do not have enough fund for this. Amid the crises the players are quite optimistic. “We belong to typical rural families. We never imagined that we would play at the national level. But, we succeeded through our own effort. Now we need more technical and mental support for achieving the national award for the team.” Rupa Khatun, one of the strikers of the team said. Rupa, one of the team members, got the opportunity to be admitted in BKSP next year due to her brilliant performance. She feels proud saying the dreams come true her life. She believes the girls of Sonatola will bring huge success for the nation in the future.
Like Rupa, most of the people of the village now believe in the girls of Sonatola School. The villagers, who once criticized the girls, now are proud of them. “When they started playing we could not imagine that they would be so successful! But the girls have proven their ability,” said Habibur Rahman Shopon, a member of the Santhia Upazila community. If the girls are trained properly, they will perform even better.