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Shaji Prabhakaran: Indian women's team need to break into Top 6 in Asia

Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran

Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran

FIFA’s Regional Development Officer for South and Central Asia Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran stressed that women’s football in India is heading in the “right direction” and that “India needs to break into the top-six in Asia.”

“We can say that Women’s football in India is going in the right direction. The fact that we are having the Women’s Nationals this year is a boon. All I’m saying is we need more competitions for these girls. They should play at least 30 matches in a calendar year to begin with,” he told AIFF Media.

Dr. Prabhakaran was the Guest of Honour in the final of the Delhi State Association’s Senior Division Football League Final at the Modern School, Barakhamba Road on Tuesday where Garhwal Heroes Women’s Football Club got the better of defending champions Eves Football Club by two goals to clinch their second championship crown.

The President of the Delhi Soccer Association and All India Football Federation Executive Committee Member Subhash Chopra was also present.

Goals on either side of halftime from India U-19 international Anita Rawat and Maria Nazreen Khan ensured a comprehensive victory for the girls in white who last won the title in 2012.

“It’s heartening to see these girls play their hearts out. The FIFA Women’s Ranking is an encouragement for all aspiring as well as professional female footballers to take it to the next level,” Dr. Prabhakaran added.

“We need to break into the top-six in Asia. That should be the immediate goal,” he opined.

Citing the example of Japan who have come a long way in women’s football, Dr. Prabhakaran further stated: “The Japanese developmental model is fascinating. We need more domestic competitions for women. Having quality coaches is also essential. We still have inhibitions in certain parts of the country about females training under male coaches but talent can come from any pocket.”

“Women coaches at grassroots level is pertinent for developmental of women’s football in India.”

For the record, Japan are the current Women’s World Champions while their U-17 team is scheduled to play the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup against Spain on Friday.

Dr. Prabhakaran also added that the hosting the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup will aid in the infrastructural and overall development of women’s football.

“The 2017 U-17 World Cup will be changing the landscape of Indian football. I’m sure women’s football will benefit largely in every way possible and who knows we can have a Women’s U-17 World Cup as well. FIFA is always willing to lend a helping hand and is also keen on women’s football development in the country.”

(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)