VADODARA: Many going for their morning and evening walks at the Kanelav sports complex in Godhra were in for a surprise last week. What inspired awe was the fact that a woman coach training young football players.

The boys as well as the woman went about their drills quite oblivious to the attention they were drawing at the sports complex. The lady training the under-17 and under-14 boys’ soccer teams at the sports complex was Luri Sorroche Alejos from Spain, who was recently appointed to the centre for excellence for soccer of the Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG). The boys were training for the Khelo India national-level soccer tournament.

Luri said that she began working with football in the state since September last year. “The level of soccer in the state is a good to start working on. One cannot expect results immediately. Football is not magic, but is a process that will eventually bear results,” she says.

The coach who was earlier training football aspirants in China said that the level of football in India was much better than that in China. “The Chinese are very good at individual games, but not team games,” she said.

On being told that it was rare that a woman trained men’s teams in India, Luri said that she would consider herself as a pioneer if that was true. “I have never faced any problems in training men in soccer,” she says.

Luri points out that she had starting training with men as a 14-year-old. “I am now 27 and training men’s teams. All these years, I worked with men without any problems,” she says. She has earlier worked with the FCB School at Barcelona and several other local teams in Spain.

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