With six Indian national team players, Sethu FC eyes maiden Indian Women's League crown

Sethu FC's squad consists of six members of the Indian women's team that played the recent Olympic qualifiers and heads into the Indian Women's League (IWL) as one of the favourites for the title.

Sethu FC will begin its Indian Women's League campaign against Manipur Police SC on May 6.   -  Special Arrangement

Her parents were not particularly happy when she took up football at the age of 12, but Ashalata Devi could not think of playing any other sport.

The decision would bear fruit as the Manipurr footballer has come a long way in the 14 years that have followed. The 26-year-old was the captain of the Indian women’s football team and helped the side make a historic second-round entry in the recent Olympic qualifiers.

The third edition of the Indian Women’s League (IWL) begins in Ludhiana on Sunday and Ashalata, who will be playing for Madurai’s Sethu FC, is excited with the road ahead for her sport.

RELATED| Biggest edition of IWL begins on Sunday

“Next year’s under-17 Women’s World Cup in India should change the women’s football scene in our country in a big way. This year’s Indian Women’s League will be the biggest ever, with 12 teams, and this shows that things are just getting better,” Ashalata told Sportstar from Ludhiana on Saturday.

Incidentally, Sethu FC's squad consists of six members of the Indian women's team that played the recent Olympic qualifiers. Kozhikode-based Gokulam FC has seven national players in its side.

“We have 10 Indian players and six who were in the main 11 in the national team and our club owner Seeni Mohaideen has paid good money to get them,” said Sethu FC's head coach Amrutha Aravind.

“Three months ago, I went to Bhubaneswar where the national camp was held and selected the players. I have a good relationship with Chaoba Devi, the Indian team’s assistant coach, she was very helpful in our team getting the national players,” she added.

Sethu FC coach Amrutha Aravind.   -  The Hindu

 

Sethu FC heads into the IWL as one of the favourites for the title and Amrutha said her team has enough firepower to bag the title. “We have Dangmei Grace, Sweety Devi, Ratanbala Devi, Asharani and our centre forward Sabitra Bhandari from Nepal is very good. We are a strong side,” she stated.

Sethu FC had its preparatory camp in Chennai's Gateway International School, and played seven preparatory matches, including a game against Tamil Nadu Police.

Ashalata is confident that Sethu FC has the team to win the trophy. “But Gokulam Kerala FC, Manipur Police and FC Kolhapur City are also strong, they will be our main rivals,” she said.

For Gokulam Kerala, the only club to have teams in both the I-League and the IWL, Dalima Chibbar is a big pick while Anju Tamang, Linthoingambi Devi and Sanju Yadav are among the other quality players.

Odisha’s Rising Student’s Club beat Eastern Sporting Union for the IWL title at the last edition and this time, many Eastern players are in the Manipur Police team, said Amrutha.

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