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Jayati Godhawat

JWB Blogger

Tanvie Hans To JWB: “I Want To Score For India, But Can’t!”

  • JWB Post
  •  July 27, 2016


At the mere age of 7 years, Tanvie Hans knew that she got a kick out of kicking the football. Tanvie’s football journey from Delhi to England is path-breaking.

Tanvie was the face of the Gurinder Chadha’s Bend it Like Beckham musical poster and recently, she also appeared in the Nike ad, ‘Da Da Ding’ video.

In an exclusive phone interview, Tanvie spoke to JWB about her life, journey as a player, future aspirations and much more.

Me: Let’s start with your first goal or first experience of playing football.

Tanvie: I grew up in Delhi and studied at the Vasant Valley School. I participated in all the sports that the school had to offer. And, I distinctly remember the day when I saw boys playing football and with my first kick, I fell in love with the sport. That time, there was no girls’ team, so I played with the boys only. However, Vasant Valley school introduced a girls’ team and became the first ever school to have a women football team.

And, my first national exposure to the game came through becoming a part of the Under-16 Delhi team. Unfortunately, our team collapsed and failed to make a mark in the tournaments. But, it was a learning experience for me.

Me: So, when did you decide that you want to make a career in football?

Tanvie: I always knew I’d be playing football all my life and chose my college and universities keeping in mind that they must have a football ground and a girls’ team. After completing my graduation in Economics and Entrepreneurship in Delhi, in 2011, I went to the University of Exeter in England for my Masters. During my time there, I learned the English way of playing football. The structure and the coaching were so advanced and conducive for playing. In 2013, I started playing for the Tottenham Hotspurs Ladies FC and was in their 2nd team, i.e. the reserve team.

Me: Do you want to play for India, too?

Tanvie: That’s the dream. In fact, I was this close to being a part of the national team. In 2008, I was in the selection training camp for the U-19 national football team in Gwalior. However, it broke my heart when they rejected me saying that I cannot be a part of the Indian team as I have a British passport. The most annoying thing is that I would never know whether I made it to the final list. It was my passport which decided my fate and not my performance.

Me: So, do you think that the scenario will change, and you’ll be able to play for India some day?

Tanvie: Absolutely! I visualize myself standing in the uniform of the Indian girls’ football team with the other players, and I know it will happen, one way or the other. Maybe, I’ll give up my passport, or the laws will change to make it possible.

Me: We hope so, too. As you have experienced the game here in India and England, as well, so, what difference did you feel while playing in these countries?

Tanvie: There are a lot more opportunities in England. Wherever you are in England, walk 10 feet in any direction and you’ll find a well-equipped football ground which is not the same in India. Lack of infrastructure and proper coaching also makes it difficult for the Indian players. Also, there’s no concept of league matches in India. In England, leagues for women go on for ten months which keep them in practice and add to their experience whereas in India, even the national women’s team trains for 4-5 months.

Me: So, what was your biggest challenge while playing in England and for the football clubs? How did you fill the gap?

Tanvie: The biggest challenge was that I was inexperienced as compared to the other native girls who are being conditioned from a very young age to play the sport. At the age of 22, I was competing with the 16-year old who had more experience of team play and tactics than me.

The things that they learned through years of practice and playing, I had to train and learn very quickly. But, I was determined, and I gave my hundred percent.

Me: You now play for another club in England, Fulham. However, you are also contributing to the sport in India. Tell us more about that.

Tanvie: Many people ask me why I came back to India after playing for the clubs there, and I just say, “That was the plan.” I want to promote and encourage the sports here. Of course, from when I started playing, the football scene has become better. Still, there’s a load more to do. I have started with an initiative, Train With Tanvie, under which I have conducted sessions in cities like Delhi, Bangalore, etc., and more will be planned soon. I don’t coach them by showing them the drill, instead, I do it with them.

The whole idea of playing in England is to gather all the experience, learn in and outs of the game and understand the advanced level there so I can bring them to my country and improve the level here.

Me: You have also mentioned that you were inspired by the movie ‘Bend it like Beckham.’ And, now you are on the poster of the musical version of the film. How does it feel?

Tanvie: *laughs* The movie released in 2012 when I was about 12 years old and was playing football with my brother, with the boys at the school and so on. The movie just hit a chord, and I could totally see myself as Jess.

12 years later, the director of the film Gurinder Chadha, approached me to be a part of the musical version of the movie and three days later, I was shooting for the poster. I mean, who could’ve seen that coming, right?

Me: Wow! Do you agree that football is still a male-dominated sport? And, how can the scenario change?

Tanvie: Things are slowly catching up with the women. The facilities, of course, are similar for both men and women, at least in England. However, wage-gap between men and female players is a reality. As far as Indian scenario is concerned, the experts say that if India makes it to the World Cup of Football, it shall be through a women team. The women’s team is ranked at 57th in the International ranking while the men’s team is ranked at 140th. So, I think women must be given more opportunities, and they will prove their worth.

Me: True that!  Women athletes are judged on the length of their skirts or shorts and not on their performances and game. Comment.

Tanvie: There’s a small portion of people who look at women as just sexual beings and nothing else. They need to understand that our outfits don’t matter. The only thing that matters is our performance.


I also fired some quick questions at her, and she was unbelievably prompt with the answers.

So, have you ever kicked someone in their guts?

Tanvie: *giggles* Never. I am not violent. Though on the field, I can get rough if the opponent is playing like it. But, I know my limit. BTW! I never got a yellow card.

Your favorite player?

Tanvie: Carli Llyod, Sunil Chhetri, and Bhaichung Bhutia

Whose autograph would you want to pin up on your board?

Tanvie: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Deepika Padukone.

Other hobbies?

Tanvie: I like penning my thoughts in the form of poems. I have got sporty genes from my dad and creative genes from my mom. And, oh! I love watching movies.

Tanvie also shared one of her poems with us and we absolutely loved it.


Biggest goal?

Tanvie: Playing for my nation.

A compliment that touched your heart?

Tanvie: My parents have come to meet me in London, and we were in a restaurant after watching the Bend it like Beckham Musical. There was a big glass window where we were sitting. A bus stopped outside which had a poster of the musical and there was a huge photo of me. He said with tears in his eyes, “Supporting you to play football was the right thing to do.” What I felt can’t be described in words. My parents are my biggest support and strength in life.

Tanvie is one of the very few Indian footballers playing with the top England Football Clubs and for most people that would be THE dream. But, serving her home country, India, is what Tanvie’s heart yearns for. JWB wishes that her dreams come true and India gains a passionate player.

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