Kozhikode: Renowned football coach Fousiya Mampatta died here on Friday after a prolonged battle with cancer. She was 52.
A pioneer of women's football, she was one of the earliest players in Kerala and the first female football coach in the state. She was the coach of the Government Vocational Higher Secondary School for Girls at Nadakkavu, which has produced several state and national-level football players over the past decade.
Fousiya grew up in a conservative set up at a time when opportunities for girls to play football were extremely limited. She was on a relentless mission to promote the game in the state. She played a key role in the inclusion of girls' football as a competitive item in the Kerala State School Sports and Games.
Fousiya was interested in sports from a young age. She started playing handball while studying at the Nadakkavu school and went on to play for the state team. Before establishing herself as a footballer, she tried her hand at weightlifting, hockey and judo. A goalkeeper in her playing days, she represented Kerala at the National Games and the Junior Girls' National Football Championship.
It was her career as a coach which earned her plenty of recognition. In 2002, she started working as a football coach under the Kerala State Sports Council on a contract basis. In 2003, she was roped in by the Nadakkavu school to train budding footballers. In the very first year of her coaching career, she could contribute four players to the state team. Soon the school became the factory for girl's football talent in Kerala, thanks to Fousiya's relentless efforts.
Two of her former students, Nikhila T and Ashli Y M, have made it to the national teams. Fousiya was Kerala's coach when the team finished third at the 2005 Senior Women's National Football Championship.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2016, she showed exemplary resoluteness to return to the soccer field during the intervals between the treatment.
Her last rites were held at a juma masjid in her native place near Vellimadukunnu in Kozhikode.