AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: FIFA Women’s Football Regional Consultant Ms. Belinda Wilson feels the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020 will “galvanize the whole country, not just on the women’s game, but also on the men’s.” In an exclusive interaction with www.the-aiff.com, she spoke at length about “consistency achieved in regards to involved in youth and senior competitions in regards to Women’s football,” how global tournaments can help revolutionise the sport, her thoughts on Golden Baby Leagues, and much more. EXCERPTS:
What are your thoughts on women’s football in India?
Women's football in India is improving a lot. It has come a long way in a short amount of time. You can see with the investments being made that the game is becoming a better product. I can see there is investment being made at the senior and youth level.
Over the last 10 years, there is a level of consistency achieved in regards to involvement in youth and senior competitions. I hope to see more role models come to light, who will inspire future generations.
How much do you believe the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 will be able to galvanise the face of Women’s Football in India?
The World Cup will have a huge impact in the country, not just on the women's game but also on the men's. You saw what happened when India hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, and how much it changed the demographics, and direction. I expect the same for the coming World Cup as well. You'll see that the host cities will galvanize from within and the rest of the states will follow.
How far can global tournaments help to revolutionise the sport in a specific country?
One should utilize the Women's World Cup that recently took place in France. From a global perspective, it was able to enhance a huge movement in regards to women's football, both on and off the field. I think that's the legacy of what a World Cup can achieve. India have the ability to follow suit with the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup next year. It can galvanize the whole country to do the same and inspire future generations to become a part of the game.
What are your thoughts on the Golden Baby League programme? What kind of impact will it have?
The Golden Baby League is a fantastic programme that has been initiated in India. I always say that the most important thing is that we start at the grassroots level, from U-6 to U-12 age groups. If you can develop a passion for the game at that age group, then it will carry over to the youth leagues, and contribute in bridging the gap. It will impact not only the football being played but also coach education and will see more women getting involved in coaching.