The only Indian to have played women’s club football in England, national team custodian Aditi Chauhan feels a structured league here for players can make a lot of difference.
Having played with West Ham United Ladies, she says there is a lot of difference between clubs managed in England and in India.
“England has a long history of women’s football, and hence, the whole setup is very structured. There are a lot of leagues and cup games throughout the season, different leagues for different levels of football. No matter what level you play at, you can play football either professionally or just for recreation,” she says.
“When you play football throughout the year and there is a structured league for players to progress, it makes a lot of difference. In addition to this, there has been a lot of investment in the game and the results are visible,” she said in an interview to The Equator Line magazine.
Chauhan feels there are exciting days ahead for women’s football in India which, she says, is going through a transition.
“Women’s coach education has become a big focus for AIFF and at the grassroots level. On top of that, the AIFF Women’s League is the one which we are waiting for.”
Though she feels there is a lot of potential in women’s football in India, she says there isn’t that much of involvement.
“The planned AIFF Women’s League will help it grow commercially and interest the corporate world. We need to have sponsors,” she says.
Though she loves outdoor sports, Chauhan says her inner self told her ‘this was for me’ the first day she played football. She also says she enjoys football as it a contact sport.
The latest edition of The Equator Line magazine is dedicated to football.
A chapter titled “Warriors With A Buddha Smile” talks about the contribution of the northeastern states to the game.
“When the likes of Kiran Khongsai and Gunabir Singhtook their first tentative steps out of the northeast in search of the big league, few could foresee the kind of impact these players from the region would make on Indian football,” it says.
More and more footballers from the northeast are donning the India colours and turning out for the country’s big clubs but the region had its first brush with glory way back in 1948 when Nagaland’s Talimeren Ao led the national team at the 1948 Olympics.
“Manipur may have conceded to Mizoram its pre-eminent position as a catchment area for Indian football, but the state continues to dominate almost all the categories of the game, including women’s football,” the article says.
Each of the northeastern states has its own story to tell.
“The new wave has already washed away well-entrenched myths and prejudices, clearing the way for a new beginning. Wherever you watch a thrilling football encounter, at a climactic moment the player scoring an improbable goal or frustrating a lethal attack, there will possibly be a quiet northeast boy, with a beatific Buddha smile in the moment of glory,” it says.