This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Daanish Bin Nabi. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Score! Kashmir’s First Female Football Coach Is Kicking Down Gender Barriers

More from Daanish Bin Nabi

By Daanish Bin Nabi for Youth Ki Awaaz:

Most of us live dull, dreary lives. Only the fortunate few are able to live the life of their dreams. Among those lucky ones is, 19-year-old football player-cum-coach, Nadiya Nighat.

nadiya nighat
Posted by People News on Facebook.

She tells Youth Ki Awaaz, “My life is like a dream for me. All I can say is that I am living my dream.”

Nadiya breaks the stereotype that people may have in mind regarding Kashmiri girls. She is a passionate footballer. For her, playing and coaching football is her passion and her life.

Nadiya started playing football when she was ten years old. While she has graduated from high school, she has not taken applied for further studies.

This 19-year-old sleeps, dreams and lives football. She is all praise for her mentor and coach, Mohammad Abudullah. “He has taught me everything I know about football. It was only after his coaching that I decided to play football for the rest of my life,” she says.

The feisty Kashmiri girl competed at the national-level through the Youth Service and Sports, 2010, against the Chandigarh team in Nagrota, Jammu. In 2015, once again, she got a chance to play at the national-level through the Jammu Kashmir Football Association (JKFA).

It is hardly a surprise though, that it took her a while to get her family’s support. Nadia faced stiff opposition from her mother and relatives because of her love for football. She says, “Initially, my mother, relatives and friends did not approve or supported my game. My mom used to say that I am a girl and that it won’t look good if I play football, that too, among boys. But my father convinced everyone at home to support me. Gradually, my mom also started supporting me in my endeavor to excel at football.”

And she laughingly says, “I am my father’s darling boy.”

Relatives and family friends consistently tried to dissuade Nadiya, saying that she has no future in football. After the support of her parents, the encouragement and support she got from the Jammu Kashmir Football Association (JKFA) proved vital for her. She says, “Had JKFA not supported me through my difficult times, I would not have made it to this level.”

Coaching At Clubs

nadiya coaching
Image Credit: Abid Bhat

Nadiya not only plays football, but is also a qualified coach. She holds the D-License for coaching which is recognised by FIFA, the governing body of international football. Her dream, she says, is to play football and also continue as a Coach.

Right now, Nadiya coaches under-19 players at two clubs. One is exclusively for boys, and the other for girls. There are around 30 boys in JJ7 Club, and 18 girls in Rambagh FC Club.

What does JJ7 stand for? Nadiya says JJ are the initials of her nickname – Jiya Jan. Seven is her jersey number. That is why the boys named her club JJ7.

This young footballer is very enthusiastic when it comes to coaching. “My aim is to excel at football, in addition to giving excellent coaching support to young, upcoming footballers,” she says.

Nadiya coaches students for free. “Passion and money do not go hand-in-hand,” says this devoted footballer. “JJ7, as well as the Rambagh FC Club is free for everyone. My priority is to make these youngsters understand what football is all about. Money always comes second.”

One of her students, Owais Manzoor, has been part of her coaching class for three months. He says that he has learnt good football tricks from Nadiya. “When I saw her for the first time, I was shocked that a girl would coach me. But slowly, I saw how skilfull she is at the game, and I realised that I can learn much from her. It is because of her that I have been selected for Panthchowk Panthers Club,” said Owais.

Lack Of Infrastructure

Nadiya rues the poor infrastructure in football stadiums. She says that the support for the girls club is very poor because of lack of proper infrastructure. Girls do not have proper facilities at the stadium, hence, parents are reluctant to send them for practice.

Nadiya says that while Bakshi Stadium has better infrastructure, it is occupied by the Indian Armed Forces. As a result, girls feel more vulnerable in Bakshi Stadium.
Nadiya fervently hopes that one day, J&K has its own girls team for football.

Her Heroes

All sportspersons have their heroes. Nadiya is no different. She says that she is a big fan of Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo. “I only wear number 7 jerseys, because so does Ronaldo. I love his moves and his attitude when he comes to the field. I like his passes and free-kicks. I also love Argentine hero Lionel Messi. I love his running and skills.”

These days, Nadiya neither follows the 2016 UEFA European Championship nor Copa America. “Because of Ramzan, I go to bed very early,” she says.

Nadiya’s message to young footballers is to seek excellence in the sport, and keep playing. “In football, the sky is the limit,” she says.

You must be to comment.

More from Daanish Bin Nabi

Similar Posts

By Sumant

By Divy Bhagia

By India Development Review (IDR)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below