FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup: Know the Indian team

The Indian team kicks-off its campaign against the United States of America on October 11 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.

The Indian U-17 women’s team in a practice session.

The Indian U-17 women’s team in a practice session. | Photo Credit: AIFF

The Indian team kicks-off its campaign against the United States of America on October 11 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.

The Fifa U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 kicks off in India on October 11, with a total of 16 women’s U-17 national teams from six confederations participating in the competition.

The Indian team begins its campaign against the United States of America on Tuesday at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.

Here is a look at the look at the player profiles of the Indian squad.

Indian squad player profiles
Goalkeepers
Monalisha Devi Moirangthem: The Manipur girl is the youngest of the three goalkeepers in the Indian team . Though the 16-year-old is the third-choice keeper for the Blue Tigress, Monalisa has travelled with the team for the preparatory tournaments, including the latest trip to Spain last month.
Melody Chanu Keisham: Melody Chanu Keisham, born on March 2, 2006, is from Manipur. She is currently associated with the Young Welfare Club. Chanu was part of the U-18 India Women’s squad that clinched the 2022 U-18 SAFF Championship title. She was between the sticks in the last league match where Bangladesh beat India 1-0 but India won courtesy of a better goal difference. On June 20th, Chanu was part of the Indian squad that flew to Europe where the team took part in the 6th Torneo Female Football Tournament in Italy from June 22 to 26 and then in the Open Nordic Tournament WU16 in Norway from July 1 to July 7.
Anjali Munda: Anjali Munda is one of the six players from Jharkhand in the Indian squad and plays as the goalkeeper for the Jharkhand State team. A product of the SAI training centre, Munda started as a defender but shifted between the sticks on the advice of S. Pradhan, coach of the Jharkhand team.
Defenders
Astam Oraon: The captain of the U-17 Women’s team – Astam Oraon – has been one of the pillars of the team, sometimes playing as a full-back and often getting forward as a defensive midfielder. Astam was instrumental in Jharkhand’s run in the Junior National Football Championship in 2019. Playing as a deep-lying midfielder, she scored five goals in six matches in that campaign as Jharkhand reached the finals for the first time, eventually losing to Himachal Pradesh. Astam is the team's free-kick specialist and is expected to pair up with Purnima to form a rock-solid defence for the Blue Tigress.
Kajal: Kajal, born on January 12, 2005, is a defender from Haryana. Kajal, who is currently associated with the Hops Football Club, was part of the U-18 India Women’s squad that clinched the 2022 U-18 SAFF Championship title. She was on the bench in India’s final against Nepal where it won 1-0. Kajal was part of the team that played the sixth Torneo Female Football Tournament in Italy and the Open Nordic Tournament WU16 in Norway.
Naketa: Naketa, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, is an integral part of India’s defense line going into the U-17 World Cup. The 17-year-old was part of the side which won the SAFF U-18 women’s championship. Naketa represents ARA FC, based in Ahmedabad, at the club level and had scored in the Indian Women’s League earlier this year against the Indian Arrows side through a freekick.  
Purnima Kumari: When the Lionesses – a Women’s U-17 Championship team – won the inaugural edition of the tournament, Purnima Kumari was one of the regulars at the back. The defender has become one of the regulars of the team and can play both as a centre-back as well as a full-back, making runs along the flanks. Purnima’s aerial ability makes her a threat in attack as well – something that saw her meet Astam Oraon’s free-kick into the net, against Nepal in the U-18 SAFF Championship.
Varshika: Delhi-born Varshika is one of the six defenders in the Indian squad for the women’s u-17 World Cup. The 16-year-old was part of the U-18 SAFF Championship-winning side, though she didn’t make an appearance and was on the bench throughout. Currently tied to HOPS Football Club in Delhi, Varshika would be expected by team coach Thomas Dennerby to perform her defensive duties if called upon.
Shilky Devi Hemam: Manipur-born Shilky Devi Hemam is associated with the Young Welfare Club. The 16-year-old was the youngest player across all teams in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022. Capable of playing as a defender, or as a central midfielder, Shilky is a versatile player. At 12, she was the joint top-scorer in India’s triumph at the 2018 SAFF U-15 Women’s Championship, and scored two in the AFC U-16 qualifiers thereafter.
Midfielders
Babina Devi Lisham: Babina Devi Lisham, born on Feb 1, 2005, is a midfielder from Manipur. Like Melody Chanu, Babina is also associated with the Young Welfare Club. Babina is part of the squad training in Jamshedpur ahead of the U-17 Women’s World Cup in October. She was also part of the India squad that travelled to Italy and Norway for the sixth Torneo Female Football Tournament and the Open Nordic Tournament WU16. Babina came off the bench to feature in India’s 3-0 loss against Iceland in the second match of the Nordic tournament. Babina was also part of the India squad that won the 2022 U-18 SAFF Championship title.
Nitu Linda: Nitu Linda has been an emerging prodigy from Jharkhand with great performances in age group tournaments. In the Sub-Junior Girls National Football Championship 2019, Nitu scored 13 goals in four matches for Jharkhand as the state was crowned champion for the very first time. In the SAFF U-18 Championship, she scored the lone goal against Bangladesh in the final. The 16-year-old has impressive pace and her movement along with set-piece play make her a great fit in Thomas Dennerby’s team.
Shailja: Though she wasn’t a part of the SAFF U-18 title-winning side in March, Shailja found a place for herself in the side that toured Italy and Norway for preparatory tournaments. Born in Haryana, the 17-year-old midfielder currently represents Hindustan FC, a Delhi-based side, at the club level. 
Shubhangi Singh: Shubhangi Singh is the first girl from Gujarat to wear an India cap in the age-group tournaments. She came into the limelight after being named in the under-17 Women’s Championship, playing for the Panthers in the midfield. Shubhangi comes from a modest family based in Songadh town of Tapi district and her father works in the maintenance department of a private factory. Tarun Roy, the senior coach with the Sports Authority of Gujarat, spotted Shubhangi, 12, while visiting the Tapi district in 2018 for the Khel Mahakumbh football tournament. She was not only scoring goals on her own but was also assisting the defenders at the back for her team. Shubhangi’s parents then sent her to Himmatnagar Academy, where she was trained by Roy and Mohsin Malik for three years. Local authorities worked hard to provide Shubhangi with a scholarship during these three years.
Forwards
Anita Kumari: Another member of the Jharkhand squad which lifted the sub-junior National Football Championship title three years ago, Anita Kumari made her debut in the Indian squad in March this year. The 17-year-old from Ranchi announced herself on the big stage with a 25-yard stunner against Nepal in the 2022 U-18 Women’s Championship – a tournament India went on to win eventually. Anita specialises in wing play and – along with Nitu Linda and Lynda Kom – is expected to constitute the front three of the India attack.
Lynda Kom Serto: India’s most promising striker in the World Cup, Lynda led the attack for the young Tigresses as they won the SAFF U-18 Championship in Jamshedpur in March this year. With five goals, including a hat-trick against Nepal, Lynda won the Golden Boot as well. Making her India debut five years ago in the U-15 SAFF Championship, she scored four goals in the tournament and also played in the U16 AFC Championship qualifiers. A fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, the Manipur Girl will surely be a thorn in the opposition's defence in the World Cup.
Neha: Neha, born on May 19, 2006, is a forward from Haryana. Like Kajal, she is also with the Hops Football Club. Training in Jharkhand as part of a preparatory camp ahead of the U-17 Women’s World Cup in October. She was part of the team that took part in the sixth Torneo Female Football Tournament in Italy and then in the Open Nordic Tournament WU16 in Norway.
Rejiya Devi Laishram: Laishram Rejiya is one of the squad players Dennerby intends to use in the tournament. The Manipur girl showed her prowess in the midfield as well as in defence, when she replaced Shailja in the final against the Faroe Islands in the U-16 Nordic Cup. The Young Tigresses were looking vulnerable against an aggressive opponent when Rejiya contributed to stabilising the boat, forcing the match to go into penalties. Rejiya is usually used later in the match to improve the defence, but she can also cause serious trouble for the opponents with long balls from the back.
Shelia Devi Loktongbam: Another Manipur born player, Shelia Devi is a 16-year-old forward who plays for ICSA IRENGBAM, a club under the All Manipur Football Association.
Kajol Hubert Dsouza: Kajol Hubert Dsouza, born on April 28, 2006, is a forward from Maharashtra who is currently associated with Parikrma FC. Kajol was with the squad that travelled to Italy and Norway for the 6th Torneo Female Football Tournament and the Open Nordic Tournament WU16 respectively. In the Nordic tournament, she came off the bench in India’s match against the Faroe Islands. The match finished goalless but India went on to lose by a margin of 2-4 on penalties.
Sudha Ankita Tirkey: Sudha Ankita Tirkey, born on October 8, 2005, is a defender from Jharkhand. She is currently with the Jharkhand Football Association. She is one of the 33 girls selected for the India U-17 Women’s National Team that is in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, for a coaching camp as part of its preparation for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Turkey was part of the team that flew to Europe where the team took part in the 6th Torneo Female Football Tournament in Italy and then in the Open Nordic Tournament WU16 in Norway.
Lavanya Upadhyay: Born in May, 2006, Lavanya is a forward from Delhi. She is currently associated with the Signature Football Club that falls under Delhi Football..
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