11-year-old makes history as first Indian ball girl at FIFA World Cup

Eleven-year-old Nathania John K from Tamil Nadu today became India’s first FIFA ball girl when she led Brazil on to the field in their game against Costa Rica at Arena St Petersburg.
That is, Nathania, who hails from the Nilgiris and is a footballer herself, became the first Indian girl to be an Official Match Ball Carrier (OMBC).
A class six student of Rishi Valley School in Chitoor, Andhra Pradesh, Nathania got the opportunity to travel to the FIFA World Cup after winning a contest organised by FIFA sponsor KIA. She was selected as OBMC along with a 10-year-old boy Rishi Tej, who hails from Karnataka.
“I am still in a daze. It is very unusual for an Indian to participate in the World Cup,” said Nathania to TOI before she left for Russia. Still, the aspiring footballer is confident enough to know why she was selected.
“I play as a centre forward for my senior school team. So, I was at ease when they asked me (during the KIA contest) to show my dribbling, juggling and penalty shooting skills. I have seen that girls don’t play much football in India,” said Nathania.
The 11-year-old girl is thrilled, of course, but there is one thing that was disappointing for her. She’s a fanatic Lionel Messi supporter, but she’s not going to be a ball carrier in an Argentine game. Worse, Argentina – and Messi – have been having a horrendous run at this World Cup so far; the team was thrashed 3-0 by Croatia yesterday. (Agencies)