Karen Pais confident of leading India to title

From being a member of the India U-14 girls team last year, Dahisar lass is all set to lead the team in AFC tournament

Last year, Dahisar resident Karen Pais went to Colombo, Sri Lanka for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-14 girls' tournament as a member of the Indian team. But this time she will be leading the side

Karen Pais (left) during an MSSA inter-school tie
Karen Pais (left) during an MSSA inter-school tie 

The 13-year-old is confident that India will defend their title in Sri Lanka when the tournament kicks off on Thursday.

"This is the first time I will captain an India team, so it feels really nice. Expectations will be high as we are the defending champions," Karen, who plays as a defender for her team, told mid-day from Thiruvananthapuram ahead of the team's departure yesterday.

"I want to go there and give my best. I am confident that the training we got from our coaches — Anita Sarkar and Raghuvir Khanolkar at Thiruvananthapuram for two weeks will stand us in good stead. We have a good team and we can defend the title," she added.

Pressure of exams
The Class VIII student of Mary Immaculate Girls' High School in Borivli needs to simultaneously gear up for another test: her final exams that begin on March 27, the day she lands in the city after the AFC

Karen, however, is confident of passing with flying colours. "I am away for more than five months training and participating in various tournaments, so it's not easy to prepare for my exams.

"I carry my books wherever I go and study whenever I get the time. But I am confident to cope up with the pressure and do well," she said. Her father Kenneth said, "We have informed the school authorities about the tournament.

They have been supportive so far. She is a bright kid and I am sure if she gets even a day to study, she will manage to do well."

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