BENGALURU: Tanvie Hans. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, her face will probably refresh your memory. She featured in the Nike ad ‘Da da ding’ besides eight other female athletes. But she is much more than just a pretty face on the television. Hans, a professional footballer who offers guidance to amateurs on a pro bono basis, dribbles past the opponent defenders with her skill, sets up balls for strikers to score and even takes on boys on the field. The former Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham women’s team midfielder now wants to make her presence felt in Indian football.
Despite being born in Jalandhar and brought up in Delhi, Hans, who has been based in Bengaluru for the last three years, hasn’t been able to chase the dream of donning the blue colours, as she holds a British passport. In the Indian Women’s League (IWL), her playing time was limited for the same reason. She got to play only 20 minutes as her first team, Sethu FC, had already recruited two foreign players (maximum quota).
She is, however, now ready to give up the British passport for Indian citizenship. And once the formalities are complete, which she expects to happen soon, the 25-year-old will be able to get into the mix for India national team call.
“Playing for India is something I have always dreamed of. I don’t want to move back to England to play football or pursue a different career there. I am Indian and want to play here. With citizenship, I will be an Indian player and will be able to play more than I’m able to do currently,” said Hans.
While the citizenship had been an issue playing in and for India, Hans didn’t let go of the chance to learn the nitty-gritty of English women’s football. Her passport opened up opportunities in England and during her three-year stint after completing her masters from Exeter University, she played for the reserve team of Spurs and also the first team of Fulham. Now, she wants to utilise her skills to play in India.
“I learned a lot there. The best thing about England is that there is a league for every level and you get to play 10 months a year, which is necessary for a player’s development,” said Hans, who is now playing for Bangalore United FC (BUFC).
In India, during her first full year at the IWL, Hans found the culture of playing football for almost the entire year missing. “At my team (BUFC), we practised together only for a day before we left for Ludhiana. That’s why the camaraderie was missing and led to our modest results. Only teams like Gokulam, Sethu, and many Manipuri clubs are good because they get to spend more time on the field together. That’s where most teams lack. Otherwise, there is no dearth of talent in the country. If you see players like Bala Devi and Indumathi (Kathiresan), they can easily fit into the English system. They are that good,” she said.