Success of women’s football in India never received a bigger priority as it is enjoying at the moment, with the All India Football Federation planning to give maximum international exposure to help the women footballers gain good competitive experience.
“Developing women’s football is our priority as per the provisions laid out in Vision 2047 roadmap. A lot needs to be done to see the National teams reaching the desired standards,” said AIFF secretary general, Shaji Prabhakaran, in a chat with Sportstar.
He said the focus is now on Tamil Nadu as the state has a rich history of contributing outstanding players to the National teams.
Chennai is currently hosting three women’s National camps – for the senior, under-20 and under-17 teams – who will be playing a series of friendlies and participating in the different continental competitions in a packed calendar decided for the year.
“Tamil Nadu has been doing well in women’s football. We thought why not take the National camps to Chennai. This is also a process to encourage the local community to be part of the football development process,” the AIFF secretary general said.
He said the provisions under the long term roadmap decided by the AIFF is also to ensure that the state bodies are functioning properly.
“There are issues with the Tamil Nadu Football Association arising from the fact that they have not held the elections for a long time. Bringing the national camps to the region will also encourage the local body to regularise their functioning,” he said adding that the Tamil Nadu Football Association has been asked to hold elections by March 31 for a new committee to take over its administration.
“Tamil Nadu used to be one of the most active states in the country that would contribute top class footballers a few decades ago. Going by the rich legacy of the state we are bound to help it relieve its prominent status in the country’s football scenario,” Prabhakaran said.
The AIFF’s development initiatives have seen a lot of changes like the fact that most of the support staff in the senior and junior National teams are women, informed the AIFF secretary general.
The AIFF has also decided to prepare a proper database for the women players so that the development programme can be run properly, Prabhakaran informed. “We are trying to bring in the necessary changes to ensure that women’s football reaches the desired level of excellence,” Prabhakaran said.
“We are also planning to have a gender neutral grassroots development programme and launch a comprehensive project by April 2023,” the AIFF secretary general added.