For those who were present at Panjim Gymkhana ground on 6th November 1977, the feeling must have been euphoric. Goa’s women slammed three goals past a hapless Bengal to emerge winners on the national football stage for the first time ever as they lifted the Women’s National Championship trophy. It put Goa on the national map and convinced many of us that a tiny state could produce footballers of repute who could be world beaters.
Forty years after that historic win, the Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons (AWES) a recently formed organisation under the leadership of former Fisheries Minister Avertano Furtado will be felicitating the members and officials of that team that made history. For many of the members of that team it would bring back memories, emotions and tears of joy as they reminisce that glorious day when they became household names in Goa.
For Yolanda De Sousa, one of the star players of that tournament ,the occasion will bring back memories of a memorable triumph. “It is really great to know that people still remember our triumph 40 years ago and it will bring back memories and emotions that are hard to forget. It was a great feeling to lift the trophy in front of our home fans especially after we lost in the final the previous year. After our final defeat in 1976 we wanted to prove a point and win the Championship the next year at any cost”, said Yolanda
Juliana Gurjao, the backbone of Goa’s midfield too had similar feelings. “It will be a great reunion for all of us. I have not met some of my team mates for ages. It will be a nice feeling to meet them again on this day. We will miss the presence of our coach Joao Melo and captain Rekha Karapurkar, who are unfortunately not in our midst to celebrate this anniversary. They were both instrumental in helping the team win the Championship. The memories of that win are still fresh in my mind”, said Juliana.
“That triumph will forever remain special to Goa and Goans. It was after all the first time that Goa emerged National champions. We got liberated in 1961 but it was not until our girls defeated Bengal and emerged champions that we got to proudly tell the rest of India that when it comes to football, we are as good, if not better, than everybody else” echoed AWES President Avertano Furtado.
Meanwhile AWES will be organising a felicitation function for the players on 6th November 2017 at the Agassaim Parish Hall at 7 pm. Majority of the players from that team are expected to be present with some of them coming from as far as Bahrain to attend the function.
Several officials who were instrumental in the initiation and the success of Women’s football in Goa will also be felicitated on the occasion.