Significance of Indian women’s football team’s rise in FIFA rankings

The Indian women’s football team managed the feat of climbing three places in the latest FIFA rankings to take 56th place in the world and 12th place in Asia. While the team’s ardent fans and players cherish this rise, we try to reflect on the circumstances that led to the elevation in the rankings.

Although the Indian women’s team’s ambitions for the World Cup were dashed earlier this year when they were forced to withdraw from the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup following an outbreak of COVID in the camp, the team made amends by winning back-to-back games against Egypt and Jordan in a FIFA-recognized Tri-Nation Friendly.

IWL and U17 National Football Championships

The success of the Indian national team has given rise to many opportunities for women in the game across the country. This includes, among others, the resumption of the Indian Women’s League and the start of the National U17 Football Championship. As the U17 team prepares to take part in the FIFA U17 World Cup in November, the governing body has devised new strategies to promote youth development in women’s football in India. A greater frequency of organized camps, as well as friendly matches recognized by FIFA, have helped to strengthen and develop talent.

Indian Arrows Project

Following the success of the men’s team, which produced players such as Akash Mishra and Vikram Pratap Singh, AIFF launched the Indian Arrows project for the women’s team. However, the women’s setup started producing incredible results from the first year itself, as the team finished mid-table in the recently concluded Indian Women’s League. Aparna Narzary and Priyangka Naorem stole the show with their skills and agility, earning important spots in the national setup. Players as young as 14 have competed in the league alongside veterans such as Ashalata Devi, even getting them into trouble. Starting young, these players will make a valuable addition to the national team by getting used to the level and competition of international football through organized friendly matches. The tireless efforts of coaches like Alex Amrose, Thomas Dennerby and Suren Chhetri helped the cause.

Bring quality

The success of the IWL and teams such as Gokulam Kerala FC and Sethu FC has paved the way for more teams to spotlight their female counterparts. Sudeva Delhi recently attempted to form a women’s team with former India international Disha Malhotra Julka as their coach. Although all Indian Super League clubs have previously been asked to form their own women’s teams, only a few have taken the necessary steps. As more teams join the coveted league, an increase in the number of matchdays would allow for more consistent playing time for players. The league has also seen the arrival of foreigners such as Elshaddai Acheampong and Adriana Tirado, who both played for Gokulam Kerala FC. The players brought with them a wealth of knowledge, experience and tactics, which they shared with local kids and teammates.

The quality of football demonstrated by Indian athletes such as Manisha Kalyan, who scored a crucial goal for India against Brazil, has spread overseas, as eminent teams such as Melbourne City FC, Rangers FC and others sent officials to India for a specially organized scout camp. in Kolkata earlier in June. India and Gokulam Kerala FC striker Manisha Kalyan has reportedly impressed visiting scouts and attracted interest from several overseas clubs. However, she seems to be very close to signing a contract with a Cyprus-based club. In doing so, Kalyan will follow in the footsteps of Bala Devi, who spent a lot of time with Rangers FC. Her club and national teammates Aditi Chauhan and Dalima Chibber have also plied their trades at overseas clubs, such as West Ham City FC. The camp not only provided them with career opportunities, but allowed them to practice and be guided by highly qualified foreign officials.

road ahead

While the governing body is taking many steps to advance women’s football in India, it is unfortunate how unaware most of our people are of their significant success. The reason for this may be a lack of coverage and attention, but it could also be due to the significantly less playing time available to players combining their domestic and club matches. Steps taken to create more tournaments and games for players, increase their regularity can ensure much more success and glory that the team(s) and players are already bringing to the nation, which will easily entice more people to go beyond their limits, embrace this beautiful game while making a name for themselves.

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