In the heart of Manipur, a conflict-ridden state in northeast India, lies the village of Andro. Here, amidst the lush green pastures and rising sun, a different kind of battle unfolds – one fought not with guns, but with goals.

Andro Mahila Morcha Association Football Club (AMMA FC) is a beacon of hope for young girls, offering them an escape from the shadows of violence and a chance to chase their dreams on the football pitch.

From Graveyard to Glory:

Laibi Phanjoubam, the club's founder and a force of nature in her own right, established AMMA FC in the 1990s. Built on an abandoned graveyard, the club's makeshift clubhouse stands as a testament to their resilience.

Laibi recognized the power of sport to empower girls, not just physically but also mentally. In a region steeped in tradition, where societal expectations often limit girls' aspirations, AMMA FC provided a platform for them to break free.

More Than Just a Game:

Training sessions at AMMA FC are a daily ritual. Here, girls as young as five learn not just football skills, but also discipline and the importance of education. The club provides everything – jerseys, shoes, and training equipment – ensuring financial constraints don't bar dreams.

Their dedication has paid off. AMMA FC boasts a string of victories, including a recent triumph over Manipur's oldest women's football club, ESU. Players like Phanjoubam Nirmala Devi and Chingakham Bimolbala have emerged as stars, their talent a testament to Laibi's vision.

Beyond the Beautiful Game:

However, the shadow of violence hangs heavy over Manipur. The ongoing conflict disrupts tournaments, restricts mobility, and poses a constant threat to the girls' safety and well-being.

Despite these challenges, AMMA FC fights on. The club, funded by the handloom weaves created by its members, is a testament to self-reliance. They teach the girls "soft skills" like computer literacy, equipping them for life beyond the field.

A Legacy of Champions:

Manipur has always been a powerhouse for Indian women's football. Players like Oinam Bembem Devi and Bala Devi, icons of the sport, were born in similar clubs. Laibi dreams that AMMA FC players will follow suit, perhaps even leading India to the FIFA World Cup someday.

A Symbol of Hope:

AMMA FC's story is an inspiration – a testament to the power of sport to defy violence and nurture dreams. In a state marred by conflict, these girls are showing the world that goals on the field can be more powerful than bullets in the air.