The Indian Women’s League is finally here. What is an important step in the overall development of football in India, has taken fruition and become a reality! There was a huge hole in the Indian football ecosystem, which the AIFF, State Associations and the stakeholders worked towards creating this entity.
I for one feel disheartened when I see so much talent out there, but no platform to showcase it. If we are serious about the development of sport entirely, we need to be going out guns blazing in every department. Do not put all your eggs in one basket and increase your risks. Anything you do in life needs to have a balance. Grow together, grow with everyone and for sure there will be positive change.
That being said, this IWL will now be played over two weeks, with players being auctioned, captains selected and put up a great spectacle for everyone.
These matches will be played at the Dr. Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.
The teams that form the inaugural Indian Women’s League are:
Alakhpura – Haryana
Eastern Sporting Union – Manipur
Rising Student FC – Odisha
Jeppiyar Institute – Puducherry
FC Pune City – Maharashtra
Aizawl FC – Mizoram
FACT: The Indian Women Football Team, is at a healthy seed of 54 despite of have no regular football, zero workshops and poor infrastructure. Imagine if we put in even 10% of our effort in this section of football, how it will affect our chances? The possibilities are endless, sky is the limit. The Martians should be hearing about the Indian Women League.
Currently the playing time is limited to the National championships and the SAFF competitions. We truly do have the talent among our ranks. Notably Bembem Devi who flew to Maldives and become the first ever Indian to go abroad and ply her trade. Another favourite is Aditi Chauhan who plays for the West Ham Women team. She is very active on social media and has played first team games.
If you read the regional papers, there are beautiful stories of grit, determination and never give up attitude despite the prejudices.
The below article clip was written in the Hindustan Times. It is such a beautiful story of the human spirit in modern times where the female gender is not given its rightful place in society.
It is not all doom and gloom right now, for example Manipur conduct intra-state competitions on a regular basis. Every year the turnout gets bigger and the pool of talent increases. This has resulted in the state winning the women’s football championship title 17 times since the tournament’s inception in 1991-92.
A few months back as I was researching on the state of Indian Women Football, I came across another story of the passion for the sport. The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack are the hub of Odisha women’s football and have produced top-class players such as the 2016 AIFF Women’s Player of the Year, Sasmita Malik. There were others who have the understanding of the game, and will soon showcase their art.
The Government has recognized this and are making huge strides in their respective townships, to inculcate social programs, youth development and creating a base who can later on represent the national team.
A Small Yet Significant Step
So pat yourself on the back, the very first step towards women empowerment through sport has taken place. We now have to build on it. This is my message to the parents with a girl child.
“PLEASE PUSH YOUR CHILD INTO A SPORT. It will be greatly benefit her later in life. You may never know what your child’s future holds. Maybe she could be the next superstar out of your locality. Maybe because she played a sport, that helped her get a job in another sport, or she had a ground breaking business idea because she participated in one of many sports that could help the world and the next generation. Do not clip their wings, guide and mentor them!”
Finally the IWL is FOR, BY and OF Indian players. The platform is ready the teams are made, battle grounds drawn. We need your support, we need your voice. Come along, send people of all ages.
We are in the nascent period of women’s football in India and surely should increase the talent of women’s football. It is in our hands, this is our project. If you feel that you can make a change for women in sport, let us hear what you have to say, you and I can do it.
If you would like to know more about the teams and leagues, head over to
INDIAN WOMEN’S LEAGUE
P.S. Facts and research covered from various articles among the newspapers like TOI, HT and Indian Express.