Indian Football: AIFF signals towards U-13, U-15 women's leagues
AIFF Women's Committee meeting was chaired by Valanka Alemao.
The AIFF Women's Football Committee meeting was chaired by Ms Valanka Natasha Alemao, as it was held over video conferencing on Thursday, December 8, 2022.
Along with the Chairperson Ms Alemao, AIFF Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran, Deputy Secretary General Mr. Sunando Dhar, Deputy Chairperson Ms Thongam Tababi Devi, and Members – Ms Sujata Kar, Ms Chitra Gangadharan, Ms Madhureema Raje, Ms Bentla D'Coth, Ms Ansha, Ms Abha Jain, Ms. Sradhanjali Samantaray, and Ms. Shabana Rabbani -- were in attendance. Indian Women's Team Head Coach Mr Thomas Dennerby also attended the meeting as a special invitee.
The Committee, in its first order of proceedings, recommended that more former National Team players should be inducted into the AIFF's scouting wing to spot talented players from all over the country. Suggestions were also made to frame a co-committee of scouts composed of the former National Team players.
The Committee felt that India should start spotting talented players from the age of 13 itself and nurture them thereafter. To that extent, the Members of the Committee recommended that leagues similar to the U-17 Khelo India League should be held at the U-13 and the U-15 levels as well. The under-13 girls' festival and the Federation Cup should be revived, the Committee recommended.
In order to further incentivise player performance, the Committee recommended that the AIFF award cash prizes in the Hero Senior Women's National Football Championships, and participation certificates to all the players in the Hero Indian Women's League. There should be zonal camps and zonal academies for girls, it said.
Dr Shaji Prabhakaran said that he expects a new dawn will soon emerge in women's football in India. "I am confident this committee will work in the most efficient manner to bring a change in women's football in India in the next few years. The AIFF is taking every positive step to take women's football ahead. Recently we organised the Under-17 Women's World Cup in the most successful manner, spread over three centres. Now we are in the process of setting up a separate women's department. Many of you in this Women's Committee have achieved incredible results on the pitch in women's football. I am sure you will do the same as members. Together, in the next few years, we will take Indian football ahead."
The Secretary General also said: "A Girls' Festival for Football will be organised by state associations from January 1 for promoting women's football across the country."
Chairman of the committee, Valanka Alemao said: "On behalf of the Women's Committee, I sincerely thank the AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey and the entire Executive Committee for being so sincere and serious in their efforts to take women's football in India forward. We are working for the overall development of women's football in India across the country. This is no easy job, but we all are ready to work hard to achieve the target."