Indian Football: Opening Up To Women

In a move to increase popularity and participation of women in Indian football, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) kicked-off the first ever FIFA Live Your Goals at the new-look Cooperage in Mumbai on Sunday (June 28, 2015).  This programme engaged more than 200 girls in footballing activities and is a step in the right direction for Indian football.Here is a report, courtesy a press release from AIFF

Oinam Bembem Devi and Scott O'Donell at the FIFA Live Your Goals Programme in Mumbai - FIFA-live-your-goals for Indian Football

Oinam Bembem Devi and Scott O’Donell at the FIFA Live Your Goals Programme Image Credits: AIFF Media

Speaking on the occasion, AIFF Technical Director Scott O’ Donell said:

“FIFA has designed the Live Your Goals campaign to boost women’s football. Twenty two countries are already initiating this programme and it is time that we initiated it to strengthen our women’s football.”

“This is one of the many steps taken to raise the profile of women’s football in India,” he added. “The objective of Live Your Goals is to introduce and popularise football among young girls.”

Bembe Devi: Inspiring A Generation

Building up to the FIFA Live Your Goals, All India Football Federation launched a grassroots Session for 26 participants from the Indian National Women’s Team and WIFA, in which 126 kids participated and interacted with role models like Bembem Devi.

“It’s a bonus to have the National Women’s Team as coaches as they are role models for many kids and the kids gain from their expertise in the game,” O’Donell echoed. “Veterans like Bembem Devi inspire the young generation to get in the game of Football. We want to try and attract more Women Coaches and this Grassroots Session is one of the many steps taken towards that.”

“It is great to see young girls involved in the project. And kudos to their parents for developing the passion in them,” O’Donell further added.

Meanwhile, Henry Menezes, WIFA, CEO maintained the “campaign has given girls a chance to come and play football.”

“Going ahead, we are going to propose a Grassroots League for both Women and Men,” Henry pronounced. “We have chalked out a detailed roadmap for Maharashtra with AIFF’s help and this has been one of the many steps taken in a positive direction,” Menezes informed.

High Hopes for Indian football:

Going forward, the FIFA Live Your Goals aims to envelop India through various football festivals and activities. The AIFF has already lined up 7 more Festivals, with the next one planned in the Capital for November 2015.

“We aim to bring girls out of their closet and give them a chance to play Football. That is our objective”  O’Donell stated. “This is not once in a while thing. It is here and meant to stay for a long period of time.”

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