Getting To Know Areeza

At NLSM, our players are the heart and soul of our academy. We believe that every individual plays a key role to the foundation of NLSM. 

Each month, we will be highlighting some of our youngsters involved, where we will get a chance to meet the person beyond the player. 

For this month, we are highlighting Areeza Tamiha Munan, who is a bright fourteen-year-old studying in Nirjhor Cantonment Public School and College. 

ON THE FIELD

What position do you play in?

I initially started playing in centre midfield and was comfortable to play as a defensive midfielder as well. However, my coach put me in defence one day and I did quite well there. Since then, I realised I am quite comfortable to play in defence and have begun developing my game there. I have even played as a goalkeeper in a match or two and to my surprise, I was quite satisfied with my performance. 

How long have you been a part of the NLSM Academy? 

I joined quite recently. I would say back around in September or October of 2023. However, I have been following the socials of the Academy since 2022. 

How are you finding NLSM?

I love it so much. It has become my second home. All the coaches are very hands on, and they are always willing to listen to the players and give very good constructive feedback. What I love is that they do not put you down if you do anything wrong. In fact, they explain it to you as many times as needed and they are extremely patient. I have loved being part of NLSM and it has a very family feeling around it. 

What are your main strengths as a player?

I think motivation is a big strength I have. I do not think I lack it and it is very important to stay motivated in what you do. I reassure myself that I am learning and there will be some mistakes along the way, but it is important to be confident in yourself and your ability. Mentality is a very important trait in the game. 

What areas of your game are you looking to improve?

I think the reason why I shifted from a midfielder to a defender is because I am still developing my dribbling skills. That is something I want to work on and improve. So yes, I would say dribbling. 

Do you feel like NLSM is helping you with that? 

Hundred percent yes. The coaches are pushing us to get better and develop our skills. They explain everything well and clearly. They even give us homework or drills we can do at home during our free time. One key advice I have received is to keep practicing with the ball as much as I can. 

Do you have a favourite drill during training sessions?

I really do love practicing tackling. I find it very entertaining to snatch the ball away from other players. I also enjoy doing knee up drills – it is good for coordination and control, and I also think it helps with other sports. 

When did you first start watching football?

It was back in 2018 when I watched the FIFA World Cup. Almost immediately I fell in love with the game. 

How did you first start to play football?

I grew up with cousin brothers and they were always interested in sports. I got that interest from them, and we used to spend a lot of time playing together. It was after I watched the World Cup that I really wanted to learn how to play. 

You are currently in 8th grade, so how are you being able to manage school and football together?

I can manage both. I follow a schedule which helps me stay organised. Initially I was in the morning shift at school but since this year, they have changed me to the day shift. It might be a bit more challenging to juggle both, but I am determined to make them both work. 

Are you able to play football at school?

Sadly, no. Girls are not allowed to play football at school. We are only allowed to play volleyball or handball. This is something I do wish would change. We have all the equipment, but the fields are always reserved for boys to play football. I have spoken to my teachers about it, but they want to focus on handball or volleyball as there are more school tournaments for girls in these sports to participate in. 

What is your goal in football?

I would not choose football professionally, but I want to keep doing it as I am passionate about it and enjoy it as a hobby. My goal is to become a Barrister or work in politics one day. 

OFF THE PITCH

Who is your footballing idol?

Kevin De Bruyne. I love him and for me, he is the most magical player on the ball. The way he sees and plays the game is incredible. I also like Aitana Bonmati from Barcelona women. I think she is a phenomenal player as well. 

So, do you watch women’s football?

I try to watch as much as I can. Sadly, we do not have much access to watch them as they are not broadcasted here. However, I did get a chance to watch some of the matches during the Women’s World Cup and it was amazing. I was rooting for England. 

Do you have a favourite football team?

I would say Belgium national team since 2018 and then later I began supporting Manchester City – Kevin De Bruyne played a huge role in the teams I chose to support but I also really liked Sergio Agüero and of course Pep Guardiola, who is an incredible manager. 

Any favourite footballing moment? First of your favourite team and then of yourself.

I would say for my favourite team, it would be when De Bruyne scored the equaliser against Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League. We were losing the game 1-0 and against such a strong team like Real Madrid, we needed to do well in that game if we wanted to advance to the next round. 

As for myself, it would be when I scored my first goal for NLSM. 

Are you involved in any other sports?

Yes, I play basketball at school and enjoy handball, volleyball, and badminton. 

Do you watch any other sports?

Yes, I like watching Formula 1. Carlos Sainz is my favourite driver, and I was supporting Ferrari because of him. Sadly, he is leaving after this season, so let’s see. 

Favourite song and do you have any pre-match music?

I like Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran. As for pre-match music, I do not have a certain song, but Brazilian songs really pump me up, so I would say that. 

Favourite movie/ tv series?

I don’t think I have one, but I enjoy watching horror films. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum is a film I enjoyed. 

Favourite food?

I love food. I can cook a great pasta and seafood alfredo would be my go-to dish to eat or cook. I don’t like baking as much though. 

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