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Kumar Takes To Football As Duck To Water

Originally from Navua the mother of one got into football in 2018 when she was assistant secretary for the Rewa Football Association.
25 Jul 2020 16:02
Kumar Takes To Football As Duck To Water
Ranjita Kumar during the youth training course at Fiji FA Academy in Vatuwaqa, Suva. Photo: Fiji FA Media

Do not limit the knowledge and the skills you have; span your wings for the greater things outside your comfort zone.

Good planning and the willing heart to thrive to pursue in unknown grounds have led Rajnita Kumar to be an accredited football coach.

“It was never in my dream that I would one day be a coach, especially for football as not many women would be involved in a male dominated sport,” Kumar said.

Originally from Navua the mother of one got into football in 2018 when she was assistant secretary for the Rewa Football Association.

Her efficiency in administration work and experience won RFA’s favour for her to manage the Rewa Youth team assisting coach Raju Goundar in 2019.

Like taking a duck to water Kumar assisted by taking light training sessions for the Under-16 boys team.

“I am fortunate to have good and genuine support from RFA executives and committees,” she said.

“Their support was awesome and I would like to thank everyone for their support these years.

“Especially the RFA executives and my family- my husband and daughter who always need to adjust to my availability for football.”

SUN: Did you dream of landing this job?

KUMAR: I never dreamt of taking up this position in football leaving alone playing. My interest developed in understanding the structure and functions of the organization I was bold enough to take up the new role as administrator and coach.

Administration work is my field; I have been working as an administrator since I started until today.

SUN: What is the overview of the work that you do?

KUMAR: As assistant secretary I assisted in the RFA administration, looking after correspondence and logistics. As a youth coach I manage both the Under- U16 / U19 teams.

SUN: What level of coaching/management that you hold?

KUMAR: MA (Member Association) Youth Coaching Certificate, FIFA and FFA accredited.

SUN: What part in your coaching career you love the most?

KUMAR: The competitive environment surrounding the youth competition. Watching the young players grow in terms of football.

SUN: What motivates you? What inspired you to do the work that you do? This is because not many women coach male dominated sports teams?

KUMAR: I’m the Personnel Assistant (PA) to my director- Sanjay Patel. Mr Patel is also national President for the Fiji Gujarati Sports Association and president for Rewa Gujarati Sports Association, vice-president of Rewa Football Association.

During all Gujarati tournaments I do the administration work from player registration to bookings of ground, medics, referees and all the works.

This really pushed my interest into football. Another was when coach Marika Rodu took the reins for Rewa; the daily chats about training techniques inspired me to assist in the training sessions for Rewa men’s team.

Once I was given the chance to manage the youth team, the passion I saw among the young players and how keen they were to learn more was inspiring.

SUN: What are some of the challenges that you face regarding your work?

KUMAR: The biggest challenge is balancing family life, work and football. Being a wife and mother I always make sure that everything is in place for my family. Proper planning right from when I leave home for work, up to the training venue on time.

Understanding each player and family background is important.

Sometimes we have to work at their level to give them a better understanding of football. Sometimes they come in training with issues like school work commitments, financial hiccups to name two – I need to have the time and understanding

SUN: What do you think about the development of football for women in Fiji?

KUMAR: Women are quickly getting inwwvolved in the game of football at various levels as referees, managers, coaches and players. And have immensely evolved. This is a good sign, but there’s lot of room for more women to get engaged to the sport and further grow the game.

SUN: What is your advice to young women who would like to pursue a football career?

KUMAR: My advice to other women is to get more involved in sports and take up various roles. It will be more effective to see more women getting involved in this sport.

SUN: Why do you think women’s participation in sports is important?

KUMAR: It is good in both terms of health and physical development to avoid Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and other women related health issues.

SUN: View on Playing Youth Football:

KUMAR: Playing youth football has many positive impacts on an individual player’s life starting from learning from your team leaders. Youth football teaches remarkable life skills which they can carry forever in their lives. It also enhances their mental and physical development.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj

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