NEW DELHI: All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Chaubey has admitted that India’s performance in the ongoing U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup “have not been too good” but said the experience of playing at the showpiece will help in the development of the team.
Debutants India lost all their three group matches — against USA, Morocco and Brazil — and conceded 16 goals to get eliminated from the tournament. The country was taking part in the age-group showpiece by virtue of being the hosts.
“Yes, I do agree that India’s results in the ongoing U-17 Women’s World Cup haven’t been too good, but the results are temporary,” Chaubey was quoted as saying in an AIFF release.
“When you play against top teams like the US, Morocco or Brazil, it gives you the kind of experience that helps take the game to the next level.”
Asked about the importance of hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, he said, “It’s a truly huge opportunity for Indian women. This, I am sure, will encourage lots of girls in our country to play the game.
“In fact, only recently, I proposed that there should be no discrimination in the honorarium the men and women footballers receive when they represent the nation. We have also discussed about taking the Hero IWL (Indian Women’s League) to a greater scale and spread it to 30 cities in the country.”
India have secured a berth for next year’s AFC U-17 Asian Cup for boy’s in the qualifiers held in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
“When the U-17 team does well, it indicates the future turn of events and prospect of the footballers. We have plans to pick up the boys from this U-17 team along with other talented boys from the same age group, who didn’t get selected for some reason or the other,” Chaubey said.
“We want to make a bigger pool and sit down with the coaches and support staff of the U-17 team to chalk out an elaborate strategy so that these boys become the backbone of the national team in U-23 and beyond.
“I am equally pleased that this qualification has come under an Indian coach,” Chaubey said on completing 50 days in office.
Chaubey, who was elected as AIFF chief on September 2, re-iterated that a new roadmap for Indian football will be released in 100 days of his tenure.
“We are going all out to make the coming edition of I-League a grand success. We are meticulously taking everything into consideration, about how it should be conducted, what should be the timing of the matches, who should be its broadcasters and what should the quality of the broadcasts be.”
Talking about the grassroots initiative, Football for Schools, launched recently as a joint venture with the Union Ministry of Education and the FIFA, Chaubey said, “The AIFF and Education Ministry will work closely to make this effort a true success. This is a programme that will reach out to 2.5 crore children in the country.”
“We also have plans to introduce more tournaments. If we can restart the U-21 national championship, it will benefit the India U-23 team. A uniform youth league will be introduced to get the best out of it.
“The former footballers in every state, maybe those who have played for more than a decade, would be roped in. Their expertise can be used as scouts in youth tournaments.”


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By Dipak

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