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India legend IM Vijayan: Women’s Football in India is rising

India legend IM Vijayan at the Women's National Championship 2021/22. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)
India legend IM Vijayan at the Women's National Championship 2021/22. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)

The Hero Senior Women’s National Football Championship 2021-22 came to an end yesterday (December 9, 2021) when Manipur clinched their 21st title at the EMS Stadium, in Kozhikode, defeating Railways 2-1 on penalties.

AIFF General Secretary, Kushal Das, who was present at the occasion hailed the efforts of all the state federations and the Government of Kerala involved to make the championship a success.

He said, “I am grateful to the Kerala Government for providing us such a platform to host the National Championship. Kerala is a huge footballing state and hosting the national championships gave the extra boost to the state. Along with AIFF and Kerala Football Association, they have managed to put forward the championships with so many teams with the covid bubble which is fantastic”.

He continued, “Last year too, both the teams faced each other in the finals and I am happy to see them again. Manipur is a very strong team and rich in football culture and it’s great to watch them in the finals and showcasing a good brand of football”

Two of India’s football stars, I M Vijayan and M Suresh were also present at the stands to support the girls on the final day.

The former India International, IM Vijayan, who was in the city to watch Manipur’s clash against Railways was elated that the championship was being conducted despite the pandemic.

“The way AIFF and Kerala Government has organized the championship is commendable despite the COVID situation. It shows how each and every one is working towards for the growth of Indian Football,” he said.

“This is the first time that the Kerala Government is hosting the national championships in four venues with the support of AIFF. I am so happy to see that 32 teams participated with so many young talents. I have come here for the first time to watch the girls play and I really enjoyed the brand of football they showed,” he mentioned.

The Blue Tigers legend also mentioned about the growth of women’s football in India and said, “In our times, scoring was very easy for the teams but now the competition has become tougher which is needed for the growth of women’s football in India”.

When asked about the performance of the senior national women’s team in the recent exposure tours, he said,” The way India played against Brazil was impressive. We scored a goal against the top team globally which shows that women’s football in India is rising. Our team has improved a lot and the federation is also trying hard to give them the much needed exposures.”

“India is hosting the Asian Cup next year and everyone is trying hard to build the team and play good football. I am very happy to see everyone is contributing to the growth of women’s football to take Indian Football forward together,” he added.

India international M Suresh also echoed his sentiments after the completion of the championship and said, “The government of Kerala and AIFF has done a fantastic job to host the women’s nationals in Kerala. I believe many youngsters will be inspired by this and take up the sport.”

“Indian Women’s Team is in their top phase now. The way they displayed themselves against the top teams was a treat to watch,” he quipped.

(Sruti Chakraborty / AIFF Media)