Women’s football is a victim of the same melancholy that surrounds any other women’s sport in our nation. This time, the country has gone as far as stating that the ’Indian Super League 2014’ was the “birth of a footballing nation,” even as the women’s national team added a third international title to their bag, in four years. Four years. That’s how long it has been since Indian Women’s Football has been asserting its mettle, world-over.
The most recent win in question here, is the SAFF Women’s Championship, held in Pakistan this year, in which our women beat the Nepal team 6-nil in the finals. This milestone in theirs, as well as the country’s history garnered them a few picture stories, or some stray articles in lesser-known dailies at best.
According to an article in The Hard Tackle, the FIFA World 53rd ranking India shows lack of promise at all levels to establish this otherwise mainstream sport for women in our country. Right from having a proper nine-month league, to having the tools in place to push this game in the public space, nothing has been catered to by the oblivious AIFF so far.
However, the AIFF plans to take some measure to change the faceless nature of the women’s team in the sport. The AIFF’s general secretary Kushal Das on the sidelines of FIFA’s Women’s Football Regional Development seminar and India Development workshop, held in New Delhi, announced, “We are planning to start a franchise-based women’s football league in mid-2015 with the help of FIFA.”
The hard tackle reports, that this first-time-ever tournament will have a similar format as the recently concluded pilot Indian football tournament ‘Indian Super League.’ Starting somewhere mid 2015, spread over three months, different franchisee-owned teams will compete for a title that is hopefully as glamorous and glorified as its male counterpart.
In spite of the fluid nature of this statement, it is cause for optimism for thousands of aspirants. “Of course, I am happy. It would be the most welcome news”, said one of India’s future superstars, Swati Rawat. who plays as a central defender for the National Team.
This platform will give vent to the seething footballing talent in our nation, and its popularity may even bridge the glaring inadequacy in amount of practice and fitness infrastructure required to play at that level. The lack of preparedness was a source of great embarrassment for India at the recent Asian Games. Another glitch it hopes to tend to, is the lack of familiarity with other formations of playing the game, so that a situation should not arise again, where our team was thwarted 10-0 by South Korea, because they were expected to acclimatize to -3-2 and 4-2-3-1, in 45 days, as opposed to their usual 4-4-2. With the arrival of foreign coaches, they would be exposed to different perspectives of playing.
The Women’s Indian Super League could also incorporate a change in its format, like having 7 indian players instead of 6 like in ISL, to give flight to Indian talent first. And for brand fortification, they are hoping to attract actresses as franchisee owners, for giving further positive reinforcement to everyone associated with it. And this won’t be farfetched at all, given the trends at the Indian Premier League.
The time is optimal- Football is on its path to going mainstream, the audience can’t get enough of the sport, and our women talent pool could not be more brimming with passion and ambition. It is now up to the authorities to strike the iron while it is hot.
Original source: The Hard Tackle
[Feature Picture Credits: Goal]