Meghalaya is currently hosting the Indian Women’s Football League. Seven national women’s teams are participating in the league. The IWL’s inaugural ceremony was held on Saturday (March 24). This is the first time the league is being held in the North-East.
From football club owners to Arjuna awardees, several people believe that this league will give the much-needed push to women’s football in the country.
“This is the first time that IWL is happening in the North East and we hope that this will further encourage and boost more talents and attract more stakeholders to support women’s football in the country,” Larsing Ming Sawyan, owner of the Shillong Lajong team told The Northeast Today.
“Last year, only six teams. Now it is seven and it is working as motivation for all of us,” – Bembem Devi
He added that the Indian women’s team is currently at the 59th position in world ranking. But if the ranking goes up to the 30s, the team will qualify for the World Cup.
Asked if Lajong will have its own women’s team in the future, Sawyan said, “Our objective is to branch out to women’s football. So far as a club, we first entered into national league and we are looking at building a strong base before venturing into women’s football and once we are in, we are in for good.”
Legendary footballer, former captain of the women national team and ESU coach Oinem Bembem Devi, also praised the effort. She said, “Last year, only six teams. Now it is seven and it is working as motivation for all of us.”
On how the team can improve its ranking, she said sponsors and proper attention will help improve their ranking.
The participating teams include Eastern Sporting Union, Rising Student Club, KRYHPSA, India Rush Soccer Club, Sethu FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Indira Gandhi Academy for Sports & Education.
Picture credit- Sporting India