Odisha finds its new “Sasmita” in a WIFA Women’s Football League Champion. Sasmita Behera, who won the IWL Qualifiers with PIFA Sports, bears a unique resemblance to former Blue Tigresses Captain, Sasmita Malik. The resemblance: Both of them are lethal in front of the goal.
Sasmita Malik needs no introduction and is a household name in women’s football in Odisha. The forward has captained the women’s national team on several occasions and is also India’s second all-time top scorer with 40 goals in 38 matches. The 2016 AIFF Women’s Player of the Year has been a true inspiration for many Odia girls.
Hailing from the same footballing hotbed of Odisha, Sasmita Behera is making a name for herself far away from her motherland. The 22-year-old forward was awarded the top goal scorer in the recently concluded WIFA Women’s Football League. She scored 10 goals in 8 appearances for the club and helped them clinch their first title.
She started her playing career at Bidanasi Football Club in Cuttack. Her father’s continued support and her love for the game bore fruit when she won the IWL Qualifiers with PIFA on 9 February 2022.
“My father used to play football. I grew up watching him play. In 2014, 15 days before my Xth board exams, I started playing football. At first, I faced backlash from my mother and my neighbors. But my father has always been in my side”, she averred.
It was then that she started playing for her school team and for the local club. She used to play against boys in her locality and later with girls in Bidanasi Club. She has also represented Utkal University.
She has played many tournaments at the district level. She also traveled to many corners of Odisha and went outside the state to play football. While playing in a tournament in Jharkhand, one of her senior teammates referred her to PIFA Sports.
The Golden Boot winner has been with Maharashta’s newly crowned Champions for 3 seasons. “My journey with PIFA has been a tremendous one. The coach and my teammates have supported me from day one. Coach Nirvan Sir has always helped me and pointed out the key areas where I can develop my game. Over the years I have been scoring goals regularly for the club. Last year COVID ruined the league for us”, she stated.
The 22-year-old forward lauded her teammates and said, “They are the ones who really help me in scoring more and more goals. Wandashisha from midfield and my striking partner Karen have been the two top contributors to my goals.”
Sasmita is eyeing a job in Odisha Police and is looking forward to making her debut in the Women’s National Championship with Odisha. “I just want to do well and score many goals. I want to play at the National Level and secure a job. I have a dream to represent the National Team and have no intention of quitting football even after getting a job because Football is my life”, she concluded.