How Game Changers Are Inspiring A Nation
An exciting project is training up coaches in rural India. HANNAH DUNCAN chats to sports director LISA MURAWSKY and head coach DISHA MALHOTRA JULKA
With it being International Women’s Day, Post Coach thought it would be an good idea to post some stories on various experiences by female coaches throughout the world and what they are doing to advance the game in their corner of it.
Excerpts of the following article from the February 2022 issue of Women’s Soccer Coaching by Hannah Duncan are courtesy of the publication, https://www.womenssoccercoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Issue-015-Feb-2022.pdf.
A group of young women in rural India have gone from soccer novices to coaches of 40 players each, thanks to a program involving a former national team player.
Disha Malhotra Julka, who trained India Women’s under-17s, is head coach for the Game Changers project, which is reaching out to communities who have little experience of female sport.
It is part of Sports For Life, a sports learning program for underprivileged girls in India between the ages of 7 and 14, run by the non-profit Naandi Foundation, whose sports director is Lisa Murawsky.
Women’s Soccer Coaching spoke with both Lisa and Disha to find out more…
WSC: How did Game Changers come about and what is the idea behind it?
LM: “The Game Changers initiative is a unique coaching program for rural women in India.
“It is an initiative under Sports For Life, which was established in 2019 and has grown tremendously since, with more than 160,000 girls currently a part of it. As a result, we felt the need for more female sports specialists to lead it and train our girls.
“There is a severe lack of female coaches in India in different sports – especially in rural India – and this led to the birth of the Game Changers initiative.
“After they complete the training in the initiative, these women will complete their D level coaching certification with the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF).
“This will allow them to work as professional coaches, bridging the gender divide that exists in sports coaching in India.”
WSC: How have you gone about reaching
LM: “We began with the Jambusar region in rural Gujarat, where we had already established a sports learning program for girls.
“We wanted those who would be part of the program to have intimate knowledge of the needs of our girl population.
“We reached out to all neighboring villages, with the message that we were looking for young women willing to train to become football coaches.
“It would mean being out on the playground, tirelessly doing drills and practices to learn football and also to build their fitness.
“It would mean spending early mornings, especially on holidays, on the ground coaching the girls. It would also mean traveling to other project locations across the country to conduct coaching camps.
“These were tough terms and conditions for any woman in rural India, but we were pleasantly surprised to find a lot of expressions of interest.
“Finally, after multiple rounds of interviews and counselling, we shortlisted 12 women for the program.
“Once we were able to get Disha on board as the chief trainer for Game Changers, who would visit Jambusar every month and conduct masterclasses, we knew our resolve to build female coaches in Jambusar was going to bear fruit.”
For the rest of the story, please go to and subscribe to Women’s Soccer Coaching at: https://www.womenssoccercoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Issue-015-Feb-2022.pdf