Malaysia - June 18, 2020 10:00Going for goalSteffi Sarge Kaur, Malaysian women national team playerReport courtesy: The Sun Daily

Photo: Steffi Sarge Kaur FB Page

17 Jun 2020

Steffi Sarge Kaur is living proof that football is no longer a male-dominated sport

THE popular 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham centres on 18-year-old British-Punjabi girl Jesminder ‘Jess’ Bhamra who wants to be a footballer. But her parents are dead set against her ambition, as they believe football is not a woman’s game.

Just like Jess, Taiping-born Steffi Sarge Kaur also dreamt of becoming a footballer. However, her situation played out differently from what happened in the film.

Both of Steffi’s parents gave her their full support. They did not believe her gender should stop her from excelling in sports.

Now 32 years old, Steffi has been a national football player, a national futsal player, and most recently, has been active in the new sport of footgolf.

She has also represented Malaysia in several international sporting tournaments. In 2007 she participated in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA) in Thailand as a football player. Five years later, in 2013, she entered the South Asian Games in Myanmar as a futsal player. Her team won the bronze medal.

She also competed in the futsal category in 2017 at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games. And last year, she represented Malaysia in the FootGolf Asia Cup which took place in Australia.

Her ultimate dream is to coach a women’s football and futsal team in the near future. She wants to train youngsters and is eager to share her experience with them. In fact she already has the licence to teach futsal. When she is not playing on the field, you will find her in front of her PlayStation console at home and at the movie theatre.

Describe your childhood.

“My dad is a Punjabi-Chinese, while my mum is Chinese. They have three children and I am their eldest child. My parents have taught me to respect other cultures. I grew up celebrating Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Christmas, Wesak day and Vaisakhi.

“I studied in a convent school where I had friends from all races. I even spoke Malay so well that some people thought that I was a Malay.

“My parents were into sports. My dad was a state runner. My mum loves playing badminton and netball. They have exposed me to many sports such as badminton, football and netball. I even played sepak takraw.

“I am lucky that my parents allowed me to pursue my sporting dream. When I have my own children in the future, I will allow them to follow their hearts too. You cannot control your children. You have to allow them to choose their own dreams.”

What was your childhood ambition? When did you decide to become a sportswoman?

“When I was young, I wanted to be a scientist. But what I chose for myself was totally different.

“I remember that when I was a young girl, I saw the opening ceremony of the 1998 Commonwealth Games [held in Kuala Lumpur] on television.

“I saw all the sportsmen and sportswomen from all over the world walking into the stadium in a parade. They looked so proud in their official attire and [waving] their flags. I knew that I wanted to do the same thing. I knew then, that I wanted to be in sports.

“Many years later in 2007, my dream came true. I was representing my country in the SEA Games.

“In the opening ceremony I walked with my fellow Malaysian [athletes] into a stadium. I had a hard time believing my dream had come true.”

What is your opinion on people who say that women have no place in football and futsal?

“Some people say that men should not cook. But some of the best cooks are men.

“I think your gender should not limit your dreams. People will demotivate you. People will criticise you. If you really love the game, all you can do is ignore these comments and focus your attention [towards the] game. Do not let people rob you of your dreams.”

Have you ever faced any serious sport injuries?

“I had a hand injury four years ago. I had to undergo physiotherapy to get well. But I do not constantly worry about injuries when I am on the field. My aim is to always put my 100% into playing the game well.”

Which sport personality do you admire the most?

“Nicol David. She has won countless international awards and championships. Last year, on my birthday, I got to meet her.

“We appeared together on a TV talk show where we spoke about our experiences as sportswomen. We took pictures together and had a chat. It was a good day for me.”

Posted by Luca Ranocchiari -->
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