Iconic woman footballer Bembem Devi feels India getting the hosting rights of the 2020 FIFA under-17 women’s World Cup is nothing short of a revolution for her tribe in the country.
Devi, hailing from Manipur, represented India for more than two decades and also captained the side during that stint. India would be hosting the U-17 women’s World Cup for the first time.
“The FIFA U-17 World Cup is a great opportunity for India to put women’s football on the world map and galvanise it. I feel we can win a match in the FIFA World Cup for sure,” Devi said at the FICCI Goal Summit.
India hosted the FIFA men’s U-17 World Cup in 2017, which was declared the best ever by the world body’s President Gianni Infantino.
“I worked with the Indian U-16s and they are really intelligent and know how to play the game. We lost in the AFC U-16 Qualifying because of the weather conditions as we were playing in sub-zero temperatures. I strongly believe we can achieve a lot,” she added.
Sara Pilot, chairperson of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Women’s Committee, stated that it’s a “very exciting moment for women’s football in India.”
“The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is a revolution for all of us. We in India are trying to push Women’s Football to the next level. It is really an exciting moment to host a Women’s World Cup,” she said.
“We need more role models in women’s football like Bembem Devi, and the World Cup can act as a setting for the same,” she opined.
In recent times, the senior women’s team won its fifth successive SAFF Championship, staying unbeaten in 23 matches in the tournament over the last five editions.
“Women’s football has been on an upward surge and the Hero Indian Women’s League has played a massive role,” Subrata Dutta, AIFF Senior Vice President, stated.
“We are also trying hard to develop women’s coaches and referees for holistic development,” he added.