“All India Football Federation is extremely proud of you. I am very proud of you. The entire country is also very proud of you,” All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Mr. Praful Patel told the Indian Senior Women’s National Team in an official meeting in the Capital on Tuesday (July 9, 2019).
The Indian Women’s National Team squad is currently training in Delhi for preparation of the COTIF Cup later this month, and also the AFC Qualifiers scheduled later.
“We have been focussing a lot on women’s football in our effort to bring glory to the sport. We know that one cannot improve without sufficient exposure. Hence, we have been stressing on exposure tours for the team. Till the time you play better teams, one cannot improve,” the AIFF President stated.
Since January 2019, the Indian Senior Women’s National Team have been to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Turkey for exposure tours, and went into the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 on back of experience of having played 15 international matches in less than three months. The women also successfully defended their SAFF Women’s Championship crown, and will now head to the COTIF Cup having played 18 international matches.
AIFF Women’s Player of the Year 2018-19 Ashalata Devi “thanked AIFF for all the support.”
“We are very thankful for the exposure trips which helped us immensely. We are a much more confident unit now. Playing in Spain, and Turkey helped us to play at a high intensity,” Ashalata quipped.
Mr. Patel also mentioned about the impact the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 have had on Indian football, and maintained that he foresees women’s football receiving a similar fillip as India are to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020.
“The U-17 Women’s World Cup will be a significant step to improve women’s football in India. You need to remember that the players who will play in the World Cup idolise you, and look up to you. It’s you who inspire them,” Mr. Patel explained.
Former Indian National Team captain, and current Director of National Teams Abhishek Yadav felt the “women’s team have come a long way in the last one year.”
“They have put up exceptional performances, and I would like to congratulate them for their achievements. I am also very confident that the federation, and the government will extend all their support for the team for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup,” he said.
“You are a comparatively new squad. Utilise the exposure, and build up your career. The manner in which you have been playing has been commendable. You have to further move forward,” Mr. Patel added. “It’s our duty to support you, and women’s football, and will.”
“The changing character of Indian football is reflected in your squad. I see many girls from the north eastern region of India in the team. The passion in the team is unmistakable. We want Indian football to be broad based.”