Aditi Chauhan, goalkeeper of the West Ham United Ladies Club in England, and of course the Indian women’s team goalkeeper, is concerned over the lack of structured leagues in women’s football in India.
Indian Express quoted her saying, “England has a long history of women’s football, and hence, the whole setup is very structured. There are a lot of leagues and cup games throughout the season, different leagues for different levels of football. No matter what level you play at, you can play football either professionally or just for recreation.”
Chauhan got the attention of our nation’s youths when a petition to resolve her visa issue went viral on social media.
Having experienced the international field, Chauhan puts forth ideas that she believes will help Indian women football teams develop a stronger, better game.
In England, there are numerous leagues and matches that happen all year round. Be it for professional football, or even recreational, there is a lot of investment in the game which leads to great results. According to Chauhan, the Indian women’s team is going through a transition period and will have some “exciting days ahead” for them.
The All India Football Federation has been focusing on coaching more women and the launch of AIFF Women’s League is something that will definitely be an up for the team.
The women’s team is ranked 54 in the world which is higher than the men’s ranking of 129
With the advent of the AIFF Women’s League, there will surely be more interest and hopefully investment in the sport for women, which will increase participation from women around the world.
Apart from states like Manipur, West Bengal, Odisha, Delhi, Bihar and Maharashtra, football hasn’t been able to attract much women on the field.
A recreational football player from Mumbai, Anshul Sharma (23): “In Mumbai, I play thrice a week with my friends, a mix team of boys and girls. The sport is thrilling and is a good workout and venting session after a long day’s work. I sometimes accompany a friend who goes for proper training in South Bombay where girls are coached for free. I believe in the recent few years, I’ve seen more of my athletic female friends take a liking to this sport. I think it’s also because of how popular FIFA is in our country, despite India not being a part of the tournament.”
In 2014, 40% of the overall television viewership came from the female audience