This year will be remembered for many achievements of Indian Women’s football, IWL is yet another addition to it.
The year 2017 saw a new era being heralded, with some firsts in Indian Football. One such thing was the advent of the Hero Indian Women’s League. With the thought of improving the women’s game the All India Football Federation launched the first ever Women’s professional league in India on January 24.
Played at the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi, the first edition of the Hero Indian Women’s League final round saw six teams battling out to take the top honours after ten teams fought in the preliminary stages in October the previous year. FC Alakhpura (Haryana), Jeppiaar Institute of Technology FC (Puducherry), Aizawl FC (Women) (Mizoram), FC Pune City (Women) (Maharashtra), Rising Student Club (Odisha) and Eastern Sporting Union (Manipur) etched their name in history by becoming the first participants.
An action packed two weeks saw competitive games and goals galore as Eastern Sporting Union beat Rising Students Club 3-0 in the final to lift the Championship. The final was even more memorable as the two teams were the ones who had earned the right to play in the final round after slugging it out in the preliminary stages.
The Eastern Union won the maiden season of the Indian Women’s League
Consistent throughout the tournament, the team from Manipur led by recent Arjuna Awardee Bembem Devi deservingly came on top. Yumnam Kamala Devi of same team lead the scoring charts with 12 goals while Umapati Devi, also from Eastern Sporting was adjudged the Most Valuable Player of the tournament for her stellar performances in the backline.
With a reach of 8.83 million on AIFF’s Facebook page, the Indian Women’s League got off to a super start, thus paving way and inspiring millions in the process. The matches were streamed live on Facebook and had an average viewership of close to 40,000 with the highest viewership being 64,915. With such solid numbers, the IWL gained a strong foothold in the ambit of Indian Football.
With the success of the first edition, the AIFF decided to hold the preliminary rounds for the second edition in Kolhapur. Crowds thronged to the Rajarshi Shahu Stadium as the local administration along with Maharaja Shahu II of Kolhapur gave their full support towards the organization of the tournament with a robust opening ceremony. The IWL proved its mettle as AIFF’s social media platforms were abuzz with the Qualifiers garnering an average audience of more than 45,000 for all the matches on Facebook.
With 12 teams in the fray, there was an added competitive edge as teams from all over participated for the right to make it to the final round. Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal saw representatives for the first time as J&K State Sports Council and Chandney Sporting took to the field.
Despite the best efforts of others, Eastern Sporting Union showcased their class, as the defending champions along with last year’s finalist Rising Students Club qualified for the Final Round with a strong showing.
The Indian Women’s League was a new adventure that the AIFF took upon in 2017 and it surely was a success as a better environment and platform was created for showcasing of female footballing prowess. Here’s to an even better future ahead and full strength to ‘#ShePower’.
After a thumping 3-0 victory in the SAFF U-15 Women’s Championship opener against Bhutan. The Indian Eves according to Head Coach Maymol Rocky are ‘ready to face’ Nepal in their second encounter in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
“The girls are upbeat after their win against Bhutan and are now ready to face Nepal in the second match. A win is the only thing on our mind”.
The India U-15 women side completely outplayed Bhutan in the opening encounter with a 20 minutes blitz in the start accounting for all the Indian goals. “Yes, it was a great start but we did not get any more goals in the second half so we will look to improve upon that. But I’m happy with the performance of the girls”, added Maymol.
Their opponents Nepal got hammered 6-0 by Bangladesh but Coach Maymol is cautious and is not dismissive of her rival side, “Every team goes through a bad day. And as I always believe anything can happen in football. I know they lost heavily but we are not taking Nepal lightly at all.”
India face Nepal tomorrow (December 19) in their second fixture of the SAFF U-15 Championship.