A poor tonga driver’s daughter has braved all odds to be selected captain of the Indian under-14 girls’ team for the Asian football championships. Soni Kumari, daughter of Pannalal Paswan, who ekes out his livelihood by plying tonga in the small town of Narkatiyaganj in West Champaran district, was chosen as the skipper of the team for the Asian Football Confederation Girls’ Regional Championships after a selection trial held earlier this month in Ahmedabad.
The tournament consisting of 14 Asian teams will be played between April 18 and 25 in Kathmandu.
The selection of his daughter has thrilled Paswan.
“She did not let poverty become obstacle in her way to fulfil her ambitions,” said Paswan. “She has achieved something we had never expected.”
Paswan barely earns enough to support his family, which lives in a hut. Soni’s mother Babita Devi said that the roof of their house leaked during the rainy season but her daughter forged ahead in life with single-minded devotion.
Soni has also got a pat on her back by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. “With strong determination to do something, girls like Soni who ride bicycles to go to their schools are the true reflection of Bihar’s development,” said the chief minister.