Nathania became the first official ball girl from India when she led Brazil to field at FIFA world cup.
Nathania John K (11) from Tamil Nadu had a rare honour and privilege by becoming India’s first FIFA ball girl. As the Official Match Ball Carrier (OMBC), she led Brazil on to the field in their game against Costa Rica at Arena St Petersburg.
Brazil won the match 2-0, both the goals coming in the dying minutes.
Nathania hails from the Nilgiris and is a footballer herself. She is a class six student of Rishi Valley School in Chitoor, Andhra Pradesh.
Nathania got this rare opportunity at 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,” Nathania told the media before she left for Russia.
“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.
Despite leading Brazil to the field, Nathania is a big fan of Lionel Messi. She is disappointed the she will not be a ball carrier in an Argentine game. And to make matters worse for her, Argentina – and Messi – now have only a slim chance to stay alive in the game after the team was thrashed 3-0 by Croatia yesterday.
Nathania is also a fan of the ‘Barcelona’, the football club that Brazil’s Neymar was with until last August. And there’s another Barcelona sensation in the Brazil team – Philippe Coutinho. She could meet both her heroes.