By Soumo Ghosh,
AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: Women’s football in India has improved leaps and bounds over the last few years, and is set to see more development, with two former India Internationals being a part of the AIFF’s Executive Committee.
An ex-Blue Tigresses forward herself, Pinky Bompal Magar has been co-opted as an Eminent Player into both the Executive Committee and the Technical Committee, where along with the other members, she will take decisions that would shape the future of Indian Football. A two-time SAFF Women’s Championship winner herself (2010 and 2012), Magar feels that doing well in some of the bigger international tournaments will go a long way in propagating women’s football in India.
“All of us in the Executive Committee and the Technical Committee want to work towards the development of football, and we are working very hard towards it,” said Magar. “We all have a number of things that we want to discuss and take certain steps on, and we want to focus on them.
“One of the things is the regular participation of the Women’s National Team in the Asian Games, and the performance in the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers. The Olympic Qualifiers are also coming up next year, and that is another area where we want to do well,” Magar said. “Another critical issue, of course, is that of the rankings, for both the women and the men’s teams.”
With the upcoming Technical and Executive Committee meetings to be held in just a few days, the former India forward feels thankful to have the chance to be one of the decision-makers of Indian Football.
“I want to personally thank all the authorities that have made such a change happen, and also thank all the other eminent players for their support and understanding,” Magar said. “The President (Kalyan Chaubey) was a player himself, and Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran has been a FIFA Development Officer, so they very much understand what needs to be done to take Indian Football forward.”
Magar, who had also won Gold at the 2010 South Asian Games in Dhaka, Bangladesh, feels that the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which is being hosted in India, will be a great opportunity for the current batch of U-17 girls to get a good exposure and improve themselves.
“I am very happy that the World Cup is happening in India. It’s a great opportunity for the girls to understand how to play at that level, which bodes very well for the future of the Senior National Team,” she said. “They have my best wishes. I’d like to tell them to be confident, and have faith in the home support that they will receive.
“It’s important for these girls to come through these age groups, as they get to grow every step that way,” continued Magar.
While a lot still need to change, women’s football in India certainly has come a long way.
“Football has moved miles ahead. The current players get a lot of things that we could never think of,” Magar stated. “Their matches are being broadcast, which is always a big motivator for a player, and they get a lot of exposure, which will put them in good stead ahead of crucial matches.”