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AIFF TD Scott O’Donell: Empowerment lies in living your goals

Scott O'Donell, Technical Director, AIFF
Scott O'Donell, Technical Director, AIFF

Photo Courtesy: AIFF Media

The recent success of FIFA Live Your Goals – a campaign aimed to extend the outreach of Women’s Football in India with an eye to the future – attracted more than 200 young girls in Mumbai recently.

In an exclusive interview with AIFF Media, AIFF’s Technical Director Scott O’Donell talks at length about the continuity of the FIFA Live Your Goals project and what next for Indian Women’s Football.


How does FIFA Live Your Goals revolutionize Women’s Football in India?
By extending the outreach of football and by taking it to every nook and corner of the country while enabling girls to live their dreams and enjoy ‘the Beautiful Game.’ It is a grand-scale campaign and its results will be evident with time. The basic framework which this campaign will provide is that it will generate interest amongst the young crop of female football players.

What next for the project?
Another FIFA Live Your Goals Programme will be launched later this year in the Capital. We have also lined up seven more Grassroots Festivals along with various programmes and activities which will be exclusive for young girls.

Where does the strength of Women’s Football lie in India?
The strength of Indian football lies in the grassroots and so does the strength of Women’s Football. We have to harness the grassroots to develop our junior and senior National Teams.

Women’s Football in India is on the rise. What do you think is next for it?
The fact that more than 200 girls came out and participated in the Live Your Goals is evidence itself of the rise. And nearly all of the girls play football regularly. They had boots and football shirts with Messi, Ronaldo and Lampard on the back. We have to continue to work in grassroots and if we do that, we should be able to increase the base of Female Players in India. Going forward, an improved Youth Development Programme and educating more female coaches will produce another Bembem or a Bala.

Can we say that there is a ‘wind of change’ enveloping Women’s Football?
Certainly! To see young girls play is a massive change in itself. I think the new India has embraced this change and we all are seeing the results of it. Women’s Football will only continue to grow from here.

Will it be right to conclude that Live Your Goals gives a shot at Women Empowerment?
More than that it has allowed girls to live their dreams of playing football. It is such a welcome sight to see young girls come out of their closets and play. I think that is what empowerment is – to live your goals.

(Interview & Photo Courtesy AIFF Media)