The goal against Brazil shows that women's football is rising in India: IM Vijayan
Manisha Kalyan's goal against Brazil was the highlight of India's recently concluded four-national tournament.
The national women team's ascendancy was on display during the recent exposure tour of Brazil, said Indian football legend IM Vijayan, who believes that adding competition between players will further help in the growth of the game in the country.
India had played against Brazil, Chile and Venezuela in a four-nation tournament as part of its preparation for the AFC Asian Cup to be held in India -- Mumbai and Pune-- from January 20 to February 6. While India lost all their three matches but the highlight of the tour was the one-goal that they scored against mighty Brazil, who are the 2007 World Cup runners-up.
"The way India played against Brazil was impressive. We scored a goal against the top team globally which shows that women's football in India is rising," the 52-year-old Vijayan, a former India men's team captain, said in a release issued by AIFF.
"Our team has improved a lot and the federation is also trying hard to give them the much-needed exposures. India is hosting the Asian Cup next year and everyone is trying hard to build the team and play good football. I am very happy to see everyone is contributing to the growth of women's football to take Indian Football forward together."
India international M Suresh also echoed his sentiments. "Indian women's team is in a good phase now. The way they performed against the top teams was a treat to watch," he quipped. The two Indian footballers were also present at the stands to support the girls on the final day of the Senior Women's National Football Championship. Defending champions Manipur claimed their 21st crown after a dramatic penalty shootout win over Railways in the final on Thursday.
"The way AIFF and Kerala Government has organized the championship is commendable despite the Covid situation. It shows how each and everyone is working towards for the growth of Indian Football," Vijayan said. "I am so happy to see that 32 teams participated with so many young talents. I have come here for the first time to watch the girls play and I really enjoyed the brand of football they showed. In our times, scoring was very easy for the teams but now the competition has become tougher which is needed for the growth of women's football in India."
AIFF General Secretary, Kushal Das also hailed the efforts of all the state federations and the Government of Kerala involved to make the championship a success.