Chaoba Devi: We have seen unpolished diamonds among junior girls

India women's football assistant coach Devi is looking to scout the best players for the next big thing in Indian football — the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2020.

Chaoba said the approach of identifying talent from an early stage and preparing them well ahead of the Qualifiers helped them stand out.   -  AIFF MEDIA

After guiding the Indian women’s senior football team to an unprecedented Round 2 of the AFC Olympic Qualifiers earlier this year, assistant coach Chaoba Devi Langam is now looking at scouting the best players for the next big thing happening for women’s football in the country — the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020.

As India is the host nation for the grand event, top coaches in the country are busy assessing players at the Hero Junior Girl’s National Football Championship in Kolhapur.

“The U-17 World Cup will be huge for women’s football in the country. We are scouting for players in the Junior Women’s National Football Championship here, and we are hopeful that by the time they play the World Cup, they will reach a level where they can compete against the top teams from across the world,” Chaoba was quoted as saying by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

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The young girls have to fight it out for their respective states to catch the attention of the scouts.

“And once the girls that will play in the U-17 World Cup come through to the senior level, they will automatically have a certain level of experience of playing at the top level, which will obviously be beneficial for our country in the long run,” she said.

She compared the young girls with unpolished diamonds. “We have seen some girls who look like they have the quality and it’s our job to spot them and then train them for the top level. When you find diamond or gold in their natural form, they are not as shiny.”

“But you need to chisel and polish them before they shine. It is exactly the same with these talented girls.”

The Indian women’s national team created history when they qualified [from their group] in the first round of the 2020 Olympic Qualifiers for the first time.

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Chaoba, the only female coach from the north-east with an AFC A License coaching badge, said the approach of identifying talent from an early stage and preparing them well ahead of the Qualifiers helped them stand out.

“We are very lucky that the AIFF and the government are providing the facilities for women’s football to grow. We have tried to lay more emphasis on the youngsters so that we can work on them and improve their performance over the course of time,” she said.

In Round 2, India beat Indonesia and Nepal; Myanmar made it through due to goal difference.

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