Which country has the highest representation in the IWL 2023?
The 2023 season of the Indian Women's League has 19 players from foreign countries playing in the Indian top division.
With the 2023 season of the Indian Women's League already taking place in full flow, the tournament has seen positive changes that have been made to make it more expansive and competitive.
Apart from the number of teams being increased to 16, each team was also given the liberty to sign up to three foreign players to their squad, with a maximum of two being fielded on the pitch during a match.
While a few teams have gone with an all-Indian squad, others have gone big and acquired the services of experienced and talented footballers from across the globe.
Kenya and Nepal has the most number of representatives in the Hero IWL with five players each and Ghana in the second place with three players. Following is the list of the foreign players playing in the IWL this season:
Camille Rodriguez (Philippines)
Hailing from Philippines, midfielder Camille Rodrigues signed with IWL debutants Lords FA ahead of the 2023 season. Already, she has made an impact on the league after announcing herself in fantastic fashion with a hattrick off the bench in the team's first league match against Celtic Queens.
This isn't the first time that the Filipino is playing in India. In early 2022, the Philippines women's team participated in the AFC Women's Asian Cup, and even created history by reaching the semi-finals for the first time in their history. Camille was part of that squad.
Cynthia dos Santos (Brazil)
She became the first Brazilian woman to play in the Indian Women’s League tournament after she penned a contract with Odisha FC. Cynthia’s signing created a buzz among football fans of the women’s game across the country, as the Indian Women’s League has not traditionally been a hub for Brazilian women footballers.
Cynthia is a diversely talented player who plays on the left wing as either forward or fullback, and can also operate as a right fullback. She is an experienced player in the Brasileirão Femenino Serie A1 and Serie A2 leagues, having played for clubs such as Grêmio Recreativo, EC Vitória BA, Santa Cruz PE, Esporte Clube Taubaté, and Ipatinga FC among others.
Faustina Worwornyo Akpo (Ghana)
The player is a former Ghana U-20 International who is currently plying her trade with the Juggernauts at Odisha FC. Faustina joined Odisha FC after a successful season with Al-Nasar women in the Jordan Women's League, where she proved herself to be a prolific and talented goal scorer. The attacking player's exceptional skills and extensive experience make her a valuable asset to the team.
Anita Basnet (Nepal)
This isn't Anita Basnet's first rodeo in India's top division. The Nepal international debuted in the IWL with Sethu FC back in 2019 and even helped them win the title that season. She made her senior international debut for Nepal in 2014.
Ahead of the 2023 IWL season, she joined league debutants Lord's FA.
Anjila Tumbapo Subba (Nepal)
She is currently considered the first-choice goalkeeper of Nepal's national women's football team. Anjila played her debut match for Nepal in the 2014 SAFF championship held in India. The goalie signed for the Madurai-based side ahead of the 2023 season and is on the path to guide Sethu FC to their second IWL title if everything goes right.
Dorcas Shikobe (Kenya)
Dareas Shikobe Nixon, the Kenyan Women's national team captain, plays as a defender for the Indian Women League club Sethu FC. She's a highly experienced campaigner, having played for her country in the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations.
Faith Ivy (Kenya)
Faith Ivy Omondi is an attacking midfielder who recently left Wadadia FC, a Kenyan first division club. In June of 2022, she was also named the 'League player of the month'. Ahead of the ongoing season, she joined Sethu FC to ply her trade in the Indian Women's League.
Rekha Poudel (Nepal)
The 23-year-old forward has signed with Sports Odisha for the 2023 IWL season. She had previously played for Nepal Police Club and Armed Police Force Club. She has represented Nepal in the SAFF Women's Championship and scored a goal.
Vivian Adjei (Ghana)
Vivian Adei from Ghana plays for the country's women's national team as a forward. She was born on January 14, 2000. She signed with the Indian Women League defending champions Gokulam Kerala in 2022, after a stint with Thunder Queens Club. She has also represented Ghana at the U-17 World Cup in 2016.
Beatrice Ntiwa Nketia (Ghana)
Beatrice Ntiwaa Nketia, 27, of Ghana, is a former Ghana Under-20 international custodian with years of experience. The Kerala side added her to the roaster in-order to take advantage of her experience in the quest to defend their title.
Sabitra Bhandari (Nepal)
Sabitra began her goal-scoring career in India with Sethu FC in 2019, and she scored 15 goals in only seven games. This is how Gokulam Kerala came to notice her and signed her for the IWL 2019/20 season.
She finished the season as the leading scorer with 19 goals and also won the title. She returned to Nepal and joined the AFC club, but she ripped her ACL there. Sabitra has also made 38 appearances for Nepal's national team.
Renuka Nagarkote (Nepal)
Renuka Nagarkote, the captain of Nepal women's national team, is an accomplished midfielder. Her outstanding skills and performance led her to win the best forward award in the women's tournament in 2016. Since 2019, she has been an integral part of the APF club. In 2023, Renuka made a significant move by signing with Kickstart FC for the Hero Indian Women's League.
Kioko Elizabeth Katungwa (Kenya)
Elizabeth Kioko is a talented striker who represents the Harambee Starlets. She gained recognition during her time with Swedish club Dalheim FC, where she played a significant role in securing a promotion to the second tier of competition. In this achievement, she demonstrated her prowess by scoring two goals. In 2023, she signed for Kickstart FC Karnataka.
Nurul Azurin Mazlan (Malaysia)
The 22-year-old Malaysian custodian demonstrated her worth by keeping four clean sheets for Misaka United in the Karnataka Women's League, and her contract was extended for the IWL season as well.
Lucky Kwekwe (Kenya)
She is a 21-year-old forward from Kenya. Misaka United FC signed her for the 2022-23 Indian Women's League season.
Sonia Opoku (Ghana)
She is a footballer from Ghana who was born on December 25, 2001. Opoku plays as an attacking midfielder for Misaka United of the Indian Women's League and the Ghana Women's National Team. She previously played for the Ghanaian team Ampem Darkoa Ladies.
Alexandra Marie Eccarrd (USA)
Alexandra is 35 years old and from the United States. She is a forward for the American squad and has signed with Mumbai Kights FC for the Indian Women's League season 2022-23.Meray Amorkor Tagoe (Kenya)
Tagoe, a 23-year-old Kenyan footballer, now plays for Celtic Queens in the Indian Women's League for the season 2022-23. She was a defender for the national team, but she played forward for her club and earned the best player award.
Earlier She participated in trials in Dubai, UAE, before joining Simba Queens in Tanzania, and she previously played for Leady-Strikers Fc in Ghana.
Xaverie Flora Tsogo Eteme (Cameroon)
A Cameroon national, Xaverie Eteme was part of the Celtic Queens squad for the Indian Women's League 2022-23 season.