Women’s football in India is set to receive a major shot in the arm in the coming years with at least two big events lined up in 2021.
On top of that, on Christmas eve, FIFA, the world governing body for football, announced that Asia would get six direct and two playoff slots for the Women’s World Cup 2023. Thus, Asia gets the second highest number of slots after Europe (11+1) in the world.
This means, India, who are ranked 10th in Asia and 53rd in the world according to the latest FIFA rankings, will have a big opportunity to qualify for the Women’s World Cup for the first time.
All this could be a big turning point for women’s football in the country and encourage several new entities to form their own women’s leagues and teams. In the past, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had urged several I-League clubs to field their own women’s team. Now, the national body has taken it upon themselves to form their own women’s team.
AIFF President Praful Patel also announced that the Indian FA’s Arrows project will now also include a women’s Indian Arrows team.
India was supposed to host the 2020 edition of the World Cup but due the coronavirus pandemic and its knock-on effects, it had to be cancelled.
It was announced that India would host the next edition, but even then, the young talented footballers who were preparing for the tournament would not be eligible for the tournament. Only some of the girls from the current Under-17 World Cup batch would still be eligible. The others are set to continue their development under the Arrows project.
“The All India Football Federation had formed a developmental side Indian Arrows for the boys which take part in the I-League. So for the current set of girls who were a part of the U17 World Cup squad, we will form a women’s team of the Indian Arrows who will participate in the Indian Women’s League (IWL). This will help in the progress of the girls’ careers,” the AIFF president Praful Patel had stated earlier this month.