Not many may heard of her, but Kalpana Roy has represented India a decade ago in women’s football. This former national team footballer, who hails from Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal, today runs a roadside tea stall there.

However, the 26-year-old has not given up on the dreams of playing for the team again. She also coaches around 30 boys and trains them twice a day, during her free time. This is how she keeps herself fit, still nursing a dream of playing for Team India.

Roy was living her dream as a footballer when she suffered a serious injury in her right leg in 2013. It was during a match in the Women’s League, which is conducted by the Indian Football Association. She was forced to quit the sport afterwards. “It took me about a year to recover. I got no financial help for the treatment from anyone. From then on, I am running the tea stall,” Roy told news agency PTI.

She overcame the trauma of the injury after she took over her father’s tea stall. Roy began helping him as he has been quite unwell in recent times

She said, “I was contacted for trial for the senior national side, but financial constraints forced me to stay back. I do not have a place to stay in Kolkata. Besides, if I leave, who will look after the family? My father is not well now.”

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Roy is the youngest of five sisters. Her mother died around four years ago. The former forward player did not marry due to the financial circumstances of her family. After her father started suffering from old age ailments, she had to take care of the other members of the family.

Roy had played four international matches as an under-19 footballer in 2008. Now she trains boys early in the morning and then opens the tea stall around 10 am

But she also has to keep the football dream alive, so she closes the shop again at 4 pm, goes to practise for two hours before reopening the shop in the evening. “The clubs for which the boys play pay me Rs 3,000 per month. That money is also important to me,” said Roy, once a member of the under-17 Bengal team.

Roy is optimistic and says she is fit enough to play for India at the senior level. “I am confident that I can contribute to the game in both ways. All I need is a job so that I do not have to worry for the family’s requirements,” she said.

Feature Image Credit:  prabhatkhabar.com

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