Marking almost a centenary year, theEast Bengal Football Club which was founded in 1920 is finally building a women’s football team with over 150 women participating in the selection process. On Wednesday, 25 players of all the participants will be finalised to represent the club. Most of these aspirant women footballers belong to the remote areas of the state, The Bengal Story reported.
The official Twitter account of East Bengal Ultras posted the congratulatory news:
Indian Football Association (IFA), the body that administers the sports in the state, proposed the idea of forming women’s football teams. Among the three major clubs in West Bengal who have been instructed to prepare their own women’s teams, East Bengal was the first one to respond.
It is very encouraging for women footballers if the big clubs come forward to have their own women’s teams. I hope in future, more and more women will be interested in playing football too. - Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar
- East Bengal is set to form women’s football team.
- Over 150 women are participating in the selection process. Of which 25 women, will be selected.
- The team then will take part in the Calcutta Women’s League – a state-level women’s football league
- East Bengal's renowned footballer Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar will coach these women.
- Officials claim lack of funds is the main issue for the club right now.
East Bengal has backed renowned footballer Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar chief coach for women's team. “It is very encouraging for women footballers if the big clubs come forward to have their own women’s teams. I hope in future, more and more women will be interested in playing football too,” said Dastidar, former captain of the Indian national women’s football team who also represented the country in international competitions.
After the trial and selection of the best players, the team will be participate in the Calcutta Women’s League – a state-level women’s football league. This is scheduled to take place in the third week of December. About 25 teams participate in the league every year.
According to East Bengal secretary Raja Guha, “Earlier too, we had a women’s football team that had participated in the league. After a gap of several years, we are putting together a team again. I hope things will be even better in future.”
Although enthusiastic enough, the major challenge the club faces now is having sponsors backing the events. Officials of the club claimed that lack of funds is the main issue, as there are no “big sponsors” for the clubs. In such a scenario, participating in the Calcutta Women’s League which starts in December seems far fetched. However, the initiative will surely boost interest among women and girls in football.
Feature Image Credit: The Bengal Story