She may be four feet tall, but she dribbles past defenders twice her size. Anna Fernandes of St. Anne’s (Malad) grabbed many eyeballs while representing her school in the girl’s Under-16 Ahmed Sailor Football Cup at Azad Maidan. No, she is not short.
She’s just a 11 year- old playing in an U-16 team. So why does she participate in this age group? “We don’t have an U-12 or an U-14 team and I don’t want her talent to be wasted,” said her coach Alex Lopez.
Lopez further added how this wonder girl earned her place amongst the seniors despite the presence of able players. “She has excellent ball control and can play at any position.”
Though the little one has to deal with taunts regarding her height, she believes it is a blessing. “My teammates tease me asking me to sneak through the opposition players’ legs but I use it to my advantage as opponents find it difficult to mark me,” she said.
However, Anna is not scared of tackling opponents. She is rather aggressive when fighting to gain possession. “Just because I’m small, people throw me down easily, but I get up and give it back,” she added.
Anna has become used to playing with people older than her, which also includes boys from her colony.
“My goal is to become the best footballer and playing against bigger opponents helps me improve my game,” she concluded.