New Delhi: The final of the first women's club-level football tournament in Delhi was a historic match. The unparalleled enthusiasm and optimism of the girls was indeed heartening. "Playing in Ambedkar Stadium is like a dream for us girls. This stadium is known for men's football. But this is the first time women's matches are being played here," said Vinita Baloni, Captain, Hans Club. Major boost Women's football has got a huge fillip in Delhi, courtesy the Vision India project of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). AFC has made several recommendations for improving the sport in the country, and one of the specific instructions is that women have to be encouraged to play the game. "Delhi and Manipur are the model associations for the country. The Vision Asia campaign has already been launched from China. Now it's the turn of Delhi," said N K Bhatia, Secretary, Delhi Soccer Association. Tough challenge However, the task is not easy, since women in India have never had the option of making a career out of football. "The Major problem is the lack of exposure. We never had any scope to play other than at the school or the senior-nationals levels," said Abha Jain, a soccer player. "There is no professional setup in India, or any financial incentives for the women to leave their jobs and family for a while and concentrate on football," said Nagendra Singh, Women's Committee Convenor, DSA. Determined not to repeat the mistakes they made with the Men's National Football League, the AIFF and the AFC are concentrating on the grassroots levels. In ten years' time, they aim to prepare a team that can take on the likes of China and the US.
Topics : Football