It is always difficult for a woman in India to become a professional footballer in India. Lack of support from family and community, poor financial return, inadequate teams and training facilities, etc. are the key reasons for it. Still, many girls fight against these adversities and pave their way into the top division of Indian football. Karishma Shirvoikar is one of them. She has been fighting against odds so far in her life to reach this level and she has been rewarded with an opportunity to attend a trial by Palamos CF, a club from Spain. However, she is struggling to find funds to participate in that trial and she needs our support.
Karishma Shirvoikar hails from Odexel, a small coastal area in Goa. She started playing football at the beach itself with her male friends. She grabbed the eyeballs when she became the top scorer of the inaugural women’s football league of Goa in the year 2017. She was the vital cog in that season’s Panjim Dolphins team which went on to win the title. She was then selected to the 20-member Indian squad for the U-17 BRICS Football Cup, 2018. In 2019, she received an invitation from Palamos CF, to train with them and subsequently trial with 3 clubs in the Catalunya region for a professional contract. Even though she made her plans to visit Spain in April 2020, the COVID pandemic forced her to terminate that plan.
Nevertheless, she continued with her hard work and the reward came in the form of a professional contract with Gokulam Kerala FC. She won two Indian Women’s League titles with Gokulam Kerala FC and scored 6 goals for the Malabarians in the 2019-20 season. She represented the Indian national team in friendlies and is considered to be one of India’s brightest prospects for the future.
Having said that, her financial condition is far from stable. Her father is still nursing a serious leg injury and her mother is a vegetable vendor at the Panjim Municipal market. Her family has been struggling to meet both ends, let alone fund her training. After the COVID pandemic settled and international airways re-opened, she was invited again by Palamos CF for a period of 3 months (from September to November 2022) wherein she could train with their team and trial with other clubs based on her performance during the training period. Palamos CF has agreed to take care of her training, medical needs, intra-city transport, insurance, kits, and equipment. All she has to arrange is the money for her international flight tickets, accommodation, and meals. However, she is finding it difficult to fetch the required amount. As of now, the KETTO campaign has generated only 62,000 INR out of the 750,000 INR required.
Karishma desperately needs support from Indian sports fans who can help her by contributing an amount. If everything goes well, she can secure a professional contract at a Spanish club which will eventually help our national team.