Sethu FC’s super show

Boasting the presence of national players such as Indumathi Kathiresan, Sandhya Ranganathan, Dangmei Grace and Ratanbala Devi, Sethu FC hammered 45 goals — the most in the competition — and conceded all of six goals to storm to the title.

Sethu FC players celebrate after clinching their maiden IWL title.   -  Special arrangement

They came, they saw, they conquered.

Sethu FC etched its name in history and capped off a brilliant year for women’s football in Tamil Nadu as the Madurai-based side went on an undefeated run to bag its maiden Indian Women’s League title in May.

The triumph comes after a terrific season that saw Tamil Nadu win the senior and junior national championships. The Sethu FC squad was built primarily from members of the Tamil Nadu team, 11 to be precise.

Boasting the presence of national players such as Indumathi Kathiresan, Sandhya Ranganathan, Dangmei Grace and Ratanbala Devi, Sethu FC hammered 45 goals — the most in the competition — and conceded all of six goals to storm to the title.

The team also consisted of five players from Manipur and two from Nepal, and it was a Nepalese whose role was instrumental in the team’s success.

Striker Sabitra Bhandari struck a staggering 15 goals, including a brace in the final, to power her side to the crown in only its second season in the IWL.

Coach Amrutha Aravind stressed on the team’s recruitment policy. “We stuck to the club’s motto and had a majority of Tamil Nadu players. We have a great mix of players who have played for the state team and also at the international level, so we did not need to look elsewhere,” she said.

Talking about Sethu’s star striker Sabitra, she said: “We had seen her play at the Hero Gold Cup and at the SAFF Games and we zeroed down on her. She is a great striker and displayed terrific quality up front.”

Amrutha went on to add that the organsiers could have given the teams a little more time to prepare as they announced the schedule hardly 20 days before the competition.

Room for improvement

Though the third edition of the Indian Women’s League was the biggest one so far — there were eight participants — it still found little takers.

Social media platforms such as Twitter had a set of dedicated handles that offered live updates, but the All India Football Federation — the organisers — did little to promote the league.

The matches in Ludhiana were played at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and had no live telecast. The games were only streamed online, that too on the Federation's Facebook page. The only professional league for women in the country, was played over 17 days!