By Sruti Chakraborty,
AIFF Media Team
BHUBANESWAR: Custodian Melody Chanu Keisham made her debut in the ongoing FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 against Morocco at Bhubaneswar on Friday, October 14, 2022.
Though India lost 0-3 and Melody perhaps could have done better when Morocco scored the second goal, her overall performance drew applause because of some of the brilliant saves she made.
Coming from a small village in Manipur, Melody said playing for India was like a dream comes true for her. “I started playing football when I was twelve years old – and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But never it was in my plans of taking a step forward and become a full time footballer,” said Melody.
The youngster played as a defender in her early days before she became a goalkeeper. “In 2018, I played as a defender in the first half and goalkeeper in the second in a match of a tournament held in my village. It was an exciting experience for me. I made quite a lot of saves and since then my coach started training me as a goalkeeper,” revealed Melody while speaking to www.the-aiff.com.
“I did not have much knowledge of goalkeeping back then like the touches, the sliding saves and all those aspects. But I have worked hard to prove my worth,” she said.
Melody is currently associated with the Young Welfare Club and was part of the U-18 India Women’s squad that clinched the U-18 SAFF Championship 2022 title. She guarded the Indian goal in the last league match when Bangladesh beat India 1-0, but India won the title courtesy a better goal difference.
Hailing from a family of farmers, Melody also was part of the Indian squad that went to Europe where the team played in the 6th Torneo Female Football Tournament in Italy from June 22 to 26 and then in the Open Nordic Tournament WU16 in Norway from July 1 to July 7.
“I never thought I would get selected for the squad and play the World Cup someday. It is really special moment for me and my family. I never thought my dream will become a reality someday,” Melody said.
“I want my parents to feel proud because of me. I know how hard life had been for them. My father is a farmer and my mother is a housewife, we have gone through lots of struggle. I am trying to overcome those things by becoming a good player,” the 16-year-old added.
Head Coach Thomas Dennerby said: “Melody is one of the brightest young talents in my team. She made some superb saves yesterday and also managed to hold the ball better than others did earlier. Her long kicks were also something that impressed me a lot. I am proud of her performance.”