Tanaz Mohammed is a Sports Management Professional, a coach, and a head coach educator! She has played hockey at the National & International Level, and is breaking boundaries by being a football coach too! But, there’s a lot more to her story.

Tanaz Mohammed is someone who is making us proud every day. She has coached football to around 500 girls and has taught Hockey to kids with special needs. The list of her achievement is long, her story is inspirational, and her hard work is applaudable!

Tanaz Mohammed’s journey into sports started at the early age of 7. “I used to represent my school in various events, road races, and marathons. I was 8 when I found that my school also has a hockey team, and I decided to join in. To keep myself fit, I started playing football too.”, said Tanaz.

Tanaz believes getting into sports was one of the best decisions. It was sports and especially hockey that turned a shy and timid girl into someone confident. ” I was a complete book worm, so much so that my mother always thought I would become a doctor. I was the child who ran down from the stage as a kid during a school annual day show just by seeing the number of audiences. But this was before I got into sports. Sport has helped me become more confident and I was in a positive zone.”, she added.

She was the first-ever person in the family to take up a sport as a career. Her family calls her by the name ‘Sports Girl’. ” They were expecting this from me. My family saw me grow along with the sport, they saw me discipline myself, work hard for it.’, said Tanaz.

During her P.G in Sports Management, her passion for football popped up too. Her very first internship was with a football club. ” Honestly, I had a blank slate start into football professionally, but I decided to keep upgrading myself into the sport to understand it better when it comes to working into it.  I was able to make a road map for myself and find out my strengths after attending various workshops, and licenses.”, she said.

Though it was all Hockey for her initially, but she also never considered football as something secondary, she is as passionate about it as she is for Hockey. “Every day I realize, that yes, it is football too; what matters is your dedication and hard work towards the game.”, she said.

For Tanaz Mohammed, both these sports are equally important, and giving preference to one is like a choice between heart and soul. ” Hockey has helped me become who I am and Football is the one that gave me a purpose and upgraded me. Now how can I choose one, when both go hand in hand for me”, said Tanaz.

Being a football coach was full of challenges for Tanaz. It was the ‘new girl in a different country’ kind of situation for her. Some people were warm and welcomed her wholeheartedly. But, on the other hand, there were some people, who were pretty loud regarding their doubts and criticism against her. ” I think my biggest challenge was to take all that and still keep trying. Not everything comes easy, and I knew that I had to keep going on and work hard in order to make my own identity. I knew that people will judge me and my potential no matter what, but I had to keep my focus on my goal and the bigger picture.”, she said.

Tanaz believes it’s important to make people feel proud of themselves for trying a certain thing. Her main motto during the practice sessions is to motivate the players with constructive feedbacks and not pushing them down with negative comments. ” I make sure that I teach my trainees to respect each other. Gender, social class, and background should never be the focus.”, she said.

Tanaz has coached around 500 girls from Muslim Community up until now. She had to work really hard to break the self-made barriers of these females who were made to believe that women cannot be into sports. ” I used myself as an example. It connected us and helped me get close to them. There were girls as young as 4, and women as old as in their 50s. All of them just wanted to play. Be it in their salwars, hijabs, jerseys, tees, or anything, what mattered to them was the game.”, she said.

From adapting the ecosystem of football to understanding the different ways, and spending her day, and nights towards her passion, Tanaz is a one-boss lady! But what keeps this boss lady going? ” My own journey and everything in it! My parents, my sisters, my seniors. Every little girl/boy looked up to me. Every teenager who was scared to take a career of their choice and spoke to me about it, every woman who felt free when they spoke to me about themselves. My inspiration lies in all these little elements that have made me who I am. I always tell myself, that if they believe in me, let that be my inspiration to keep trying every single day. ”, she added.

Tanaz finds her inspiration from a lot of people, but her first role models are her parents. ” My study element comes from my Maa and my sports comes from my Dad. As for other role models, I adore Sania Mirza and Sushmita Sen. In hockey, it’s Nishi Chauhan & in football, I adore the hard work and dedication of Cristiano Ronaldo. I also look up to Bala Devi.”, said Tanaz.

It’s always mind-boggling to think who would have been a source of influence for an excellent player like Tanaz. Talking about her seniors, and coaches, she said, ” I have had a number of coaches and some of them have really helped me learn a lot. My most important learnings come from Mr. Dinesh Nair, who was my professor during my post-graduate days and is now my boss.”

Talking about gender equality in sports like Hockey, and Football, she believes that it is progressing. ” The only word that comes is ‘Developing’, we as a nation are working towards bridging that gap between the number of males and females.” Though she feels it’s a gradual process, but it will change soon.

Advising young players of the country, Tanaz pressed on the golden rule of working hard. She wants young players, as well as the youth, to understand that there is no alternative for hard work, success will not be easy, and early incoming. One will have to be patient, and should never settle after achieving success!

“Always remember: It’s OKAY to Fail, and it’s OKAY to keep trying.
You do not fail when you keep trying, you fail when you give up.”, she added.

The definition of a challenge has changed for Tanaz with time. She firmly believes that every new task you take has a different level and type of challenge. ” You have to be prepared with backup plans. But also remember, challenges do not last forever, so don’t give up because you faced one, hold yourself high. Face it, learn from it and move on.”, said Tanaz Mohammed.

Tanaz’s way of seeing the failures and downfalls too has changed with time. In 2017, when she was asked to coach a girl’s team in her own college, some people decided to defame her. They sent an 8-page long legal letter to her place. They falsely accused her of victimizing the girls, not having enough knowledge, and even questioned her character. “I call it, the most learnable phase of my life which lasted for 8 months.”, she said.

If a hardworking, and talented person like Tanaz Mohammed can come across such a situation and deal with it, we too can wreck the barriers.

” Initially I had sleepless nights, and I could not believe what was happening with me, but then I fought for it. Every one of them had to sign and give an apology because they had no solid proof. On the other hand, I had a lot of proofs, official letters, and testimonies to support my work and character.”, she said. There’s no doubt that she is a fighter and knows how to tackle a situation. She did not give up, and faced it like a real queen!

It’s a delight to see Tanaz reach this far. She is a humble soul and a big sneakerhead. After every good performance, Tanaz treats herself with gifts, thank the Almighty, and shares it with her family.

She has been constant with her hard work and made her way through the crowd. ” If people know you, they will be against you, do not let their negativity affect you. Focus on yourself and your goals, let your work do the talking.” And, that’s something she has been doing since the beginning!

18th May 2018 was the day when she thought she finally had arrived. It was something that pushed her towards what she is doing now more actively. ” I was sleeping after my morning sehri as it was the month of Ramzan, and at around 11ish I saw my phone. It was the very first article of my professional life that came in the papers. It was around the work that I did with the females of the Muslim community. That very day made me realize, that this is it, this will be my arrival, and this will be my goal and motivation to work better.”

Since then, Tanaz has never looked back. Her key takeaways from her own journey up until now are to always be humble, keep working hard with no expectations of a certain result.

Before waving us goodbye, Tanaz Mohmmed ended this motivating conversation with something really thoughtful. ” Be your competition and do not compare your journey to that of others. We all have our purpose in this life, find that purpose and embrace your own journey.”

From being a 7-year-old kid who started with athletics to a young, mature, and hardworking hockey player, and now a football coach. A lot has changed for Tanaz Mohammed. But, one thing that will never change is her dedication and passion for the sport, and all we would like to say now is, Kudos to you Tanaz Mohammed!

Follow Tanaz Mohammed on her Instagram here, and get inspired!

Also Read: Gaurav Taneja: All about the journey of adventure and creating content

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