On International Women’s Day, the Benaulim Grounds in Goa witnessed the convergence of three generations of Indian women footballers to celebrate the occasion on Sunday. The event was put together by the local organising committee of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup which will be hosted by India later this year.
Former Indian Women’s Team captain Bembem Devi, and current captain Ashalata Devi were amongst those who interacted with the India U17 Women’s squad and more than 100 girls from schools and NGOs around Goa.
“It is very heartening to see everyone out here today to celebrate International Women’s Day and Indian women’s football. It is clear today and very encouraging that the game has been on the rise since I started playing,” said Ashalata Devi.
“I am sure that the whole nation will rally around and support the team in November when they take the field and they will then prove to be inspirations for the next set of kids who will choose to take up the game. The future definitely looks bright for women’s football in the country.”
Talking about the event, the LOC Tournament Director Roma Khanna said, “With India hosting the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup later this year, we wanted the girls to get a glimpse of what it takes to be a professional footballer. It was great to see so many young faces on the football field, and you can see that they enjoyed themselves.”
“I hope we have managed to inspire a few of them to take up football professionally. I would like to also take this occasion to also ask parents to encourage their children to take up football, they can go on and represent their country at a FIFA World Cup,” she added.
One of the highlights of the day was to see Precious Dede, India’s U17 goalkeeping coach and four-time FIFA Women’s World Cup participant with Nigeria, give a goalkeeping masterclass to the attending NGO and school children.
FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup is going to kick off on November 2, and the venues are set to be Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Kolkata, and Navi Mumbai. The final will be held on November 21.
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