Category: Womens

66.7% win record elevates Indian women’s team to 57 in FIFA rankings

NEW DELHI: A 66.7 % win record in the last 18 matches played since January 2019 propelled the Indian Senior Women’s National Team to jump 6 places to 57 in the FIFA Women’s Ranking released on July 12, 2019. Currently, the Indian women are ranked 11th in Asia.

Since January 2019, the women’s have played 18 matches winning 12, drawn 1, and lost 5. The matches are from their exposure tours to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Turkey, the SAFF Championship in Nepal, the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 in Myanmar, besides the inaugural Hero Gold Cup international tournament in Bhubaneswar. The team is next slated to play the COTIF Cup in Spain later this month.

Head Coach Maymol Rocky credited the players “for working hard” for the rise in the FIFA ladder.

“The entire nation will be happy that the Women’s Team has climbed six spots in the FIFA Rankings. The entire credit goes with the girls. They have worked hard for it, and we need to work harder from now on,” Maymol said.

Iconic Indian striker Sunil Chhetri, currently the second highest goal scorer in International Football among active players with 70 goals stated that he is “extremely proud of the girls.”

“They have been doing really well. I’m really proud of the girls. I’ve spoken to them once before recently, and told them they can do wonders. I hope they keep working hard, keep doing what they are doing. I’m sure things will keep on improving,” Chhetri said from Ahmedabad, where the Blue Tigers are playing in the ongoing Hero Intercontinental Cup.

The women’s team are currently camping in the Capital for their preparation for the forthcoming COTIF Cup.

AIFF’s Director of National Teams, and former India captain Abhishek Yadav added that the “women’s football have picked up the momentum.”

“Women’s football in India has picked up momentum. AIFF along with Sports Authority of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and Government of Odisha have a dedicated plan to promote women’s football, and provide further exposure to the Women’s Senior National team,” he explained.

AIFF Player of the Year 2018-19 Ashalata Devi felt “the aim should be to climb higher.”

“Currently, we are 11th in Asia. We are aware of our abilities. The self-belief after the exposure tours has been driving us. We need to break into the top 10 in Asia.”

Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan added: “As a team we are really proud of the effort which we put in, and the results we’ve got since assembling in December last year. Our new ranking will motivate us further to keep pushing ourselves.”

“There is a bit of a gap between the top-ranked teams, and where we are at the moment. But everyone – the players, the staff, AIFF, the Government are working very hard to provide the girls all the facilities to close down that gap,” the Coach explained.

AIFF President vows to support growing women’s football in India


NEW DELHI: “
All India Football Federation is extremely proud of you. I am very proud of you. The entire country is also very proud of you,” All India Football Federation President Mr. Praful Patel told the Indian Senior Women’s National team contingent in an official meeting in the Capital on Tuesday (July 9, 2019).

The Indian Women’s National team squad are currently training in Delhi for preparation of the Cotif Cup later this month, and also the AFC Qualifiers scheduled later.

“We have been focusing a lot on women’s football in our effort to bring glory to the sport. We know that one cannot improve without sufficient exposure. Hence, we have been stressing on exposure tours for the team. Till the time you play better teams, one cannot improve,” the AIFF President stated.

Since January 2019, the Indian Senior Women’s National Team have been to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Turkey for exposure tours, and went into the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 on back of experience of having played 15 international matches in less than three months. The women also successfully defended their Women’s Senior SAFF Championship crown, and will now head to the Cotif Cup having played 18 international matches.

AIFF Women’s Player of the Year 2018-19 Ashalata Devi “thanked AIFF for all the support.”

“We are very thankful for the exposure trips which helped us immensely. We are a much more confident unit now. Playing in Spain, and Turkey helped us to play at a high intensity,” Ashalata quipped.

Mr. Patel also mentioned about the impact the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 have had on Indian Football, and maintained that he foresees women’s football receiving a similar fillip as India are to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020.

“The U-17 Women’s World Cup will be a significant step to improve women’s football in India. You need to remember that the players who will play in the World Cup idolise you, and look up to you. It’s you who inspire them,” Mr. Patel explained.

Former Indian National Team captain, and currently Director, National teams Abhishek Yadav felt the “women’s team have come a long way in the last one year.”

“They have put up exceptional performances, and I would like to congratulate them for their achievements. I am also very confident that the federation, and the government will extend all their support for the team for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup,” he said.

“You are a comparatively new squad. Utilise the exposure, and build up your career. The manner in which you have been playing has been commendable. You have to further move forward,” Mr. Patel added. “It’s our duty to support you, and women’s football, and will.”

“The changing character of Indian Football is reflected in your squad. I see many girls from the north eastern region of India in the team. The passion in the team is unmistakable. We want Indian Football to be broad based.”

Important to maintain consistency, sayas U-17 women’s team coach Alex Ambrose

NEW DELHI: After three fabulous results, the India U-17 Women’s National Team is all set to take on Hong Kong U-18 Women’s Team on Saturday, June 29, 2019.

The India U-17 girls, who are preparing for the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India next year, have earned three consecutive 4-goal victories in their three matches in Hong Kong, beating Hong Kong U-23 (5-1), Tai Po TBC (4-0), and Citizen AA (5-1).

With one match to go in their Hong Kong expedition, Head Coach Alex Ambrose believes that the three victories have kept the spirits of the squad high but agrees that the development of the players is of high priority.

“It’s a good feeling when you get what you trained for, to get positive results. You can also see that the overall development of the squad is connecting in the right places and delivering when required. It is important that we now keep up the consistency,” said Ambrose.

Ambrose has used the matches in Hong Kong to test the waters with the current crop of players, often rotating the starting XI and trying out different combinations.

“We are here with a squad of 24 and we have been rotating players. It’s good to see the girls fighting for their position in the team. It’s a healthy environment when you have players doing that,” he said. 

The 37-year-old further went on to stress on the importance of adapting to conditions. However, it is the competition for places that has made Ambrose’s job more difficult, though that is not something that the Coach is complaining about.

“It’s very important for them to understand that how much time they need to adapt and cement their place. But it’s never easy for a coach when you have a team that is always pushing and making your job more difficult to put out the best XI, but that’s always a plus point,” Ambrose explained.

Ahead of the team’s last game against Hong Kong U-18, Ambrose stressed on the importance of maintaining the winning habit as a team, and grind out the good results.

“We need to keep up the same spirit and play to the plan. I think it is about improving in every game. This is where we need to keep our heads down, stick to the plan and get a good result whenever we want,” Ambrose rounded off.

India’s match against Hong Kong kicks off at 3 pm IST, on Saturday, June 29, 2019.

India women’s U-17 team records third straight win in Hong Kong

NEW DELHI: The India U-17 Women’s Team continued its winning run in Hong Kong, earning its third 4-goal victory in a row, with a 5-1 win against Citizen AA on Thursday (June 27, 2019).

The Indian outfit, coached by Alex Ambrose, has already earned big wins against the likes of the Hong Kong U-23 side (5-1) and Tai Po TBC (4-0) last week. Continuing in the same vein of form, the Indian girls romped home to another big victory with Sai Sankhe, Kiran and Amisha netting a goal each, while Priyanka Devi scored a brace.

India got the early start as Sai put away a chance in the very first minute of the match. It took India about a quarter of an hour to double their lead, when Marriyamal played Priyanka through on goal as the latter put it past the opposition keeper to get her name on the scoresheet.

Citizen pulled one goal back when Kayan scored a few minutes later, gaining some momentum. Centreback Nirmala had to pull off a goal-line clearance in the 36th minute to prevent the home side from levelling the scores.

India regained their two-goal lead in the 50th minute, when Astam soared up the flank, squared it to Priyanka who gave India the breathing space of a 3-1 lead. Kiran made the score 4-1 in India’s favour on the 80th minute, just before being substituted off by Ambrose.

Five minutes later, Amisha put the final nail in the coffin, as she latched on to a pass from Astam and pulled the trigger. While it was saved by the opposition keeper, the India attacker slotted in the rebound.

With three of their matches done, India are now set to play their final game against the Hong Kong U-18 Women’s Team on Saturday (June 29, 2019).

Experience can help India under-17s become formidable, says Alex Ambrose

NEW DELHI: The India U-17 Women’s Team is swiftly learning to adapt to different conditions and match situations, something that could help them develop into a “formidable unit”, said Head Coach Alex Ambrose ahead of the side’s clash against Citizen AA in Hong Kong on Thursday (June 27, 2019).

Having already played Hong Kong U-23 and Tai Po FC on their sojourn to Hong Kong, India have churned out some great results, winning their matches 5-1 and 4-0, respectively. 

“It’s good to have positive results when you work hard. We have been trying different systems in the team, and the idea is about creating chances and converting them. It’s not about the score lines, but about how the players understand the game,” explained Ambrose.

“The team is shaping up well, and it’s all about the experience they get from here. I think in the time to come, this team can really grow into a formidable side,” he added.

Ambrose, who has used the two matches to try different combinations, believes that the team’s development charts are moving up steadily with the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in mind.

“It’s good that we have changes within the team during the matches. The way that they have adapted makes us feel good that the girls are developing,” said Ambrose. “What’s really good with these players is that they are open to experiments, and they’re always up for a challenge.” 

While the first two games were played in the gap of three days, the 37-year-old is of the opinion that the schedule will help the girls learn how to recover after tough games. 

“We played two hard games in the space of three days. The few days’ gap that we had was very important for the girls to rest and recover. We are going to play another two games in three days. This is an important step for the girls on understanding how to recover from difficult games,” said Ambrose.

The games may have come thick and fast, but the two thumping wins have proved to be huge positives for the girls, who are now set to head into the game against Citizen AA with high spirits. The match kicks off on Thursday at 3 pm IST

IWL 2019 Final: Sabitra Bhandari scores brace as Sethu FC crowned champions

LUDHIANA: Sethu FC turned around a first-half deficit to beat Manipur Police SC 3-1 and win their first ever Hero Indian Women’s League trophy in the process, at the Guru Nanak Stadium, here on Wednesday (May 22, 2019).

Radharani Devi had put Manipur Police in the lead towards the end of the first half, but an own goal by Umapati Devi put Sethu back in the game, before their Nepal international Sabitra Bhandari turned up the heat to score two goals and win it for the Madurai-based side.

Sethu got off with the more chances in the first half, as they kept the Manipur attackers in check and built on their swift counter-attacks to move the ball up the pitch quickly. Their left winger Sandhiya looked lively in the opening exchanges, as she bombed down the left flank to give a lot of trouble to the Manipur defence.

The India international had the first clear chance a little after 10 minutes, when she received the ball just inside the box and pulled the trigger. However, she scuffed her instep shot and it lacked any sting.

The winger had another good chance when she received the ball from a melee inside the Manipur box, but her shot rolled inches wide of the post.

Manipur’s Bala Devi was tightly marked, and she often had to drop to the midfield or to the right wing, in order to make some space for herself. Bala increasingly began to cut a rather frustrated figure, and was starting to resort to long-range efforts.

Manipur’s goal came at just the right time, with a little over a minute of regulation time left for the first half, as Radharani leaped above the rest to nod in a corner from the left.

Sethu came out with more vigour in the second half, and got the goal that they were looking for, when Dangmei Grace broke down the right and sent in a low cross as captain Indumathi Kathiresan pulled the trigger. However, it took a deflection off Manipur Police defender Umapati Devi, who was unfortunately awarded the own goal.

It took the Madurai-based side around another five minutes to take the lead for the first time this game, as their mercurial Nepalese striker Sabitra Bhandari was set through on goal. the Sethu number nine rounded off the keeper, before slotting it into the net from an angle.

Sabitra, who was relatively quiet for most of the first half, came into her own after this goal that gave her the confidence. She scored her second of the evening, when Sandhiya broke swiftly down the left and played her in through the channel between the left back and the left centre-back. The Nepal international opened up her right foot and slotted it into the bottom corner to give Sethu the two-goal cushion.

From then on, it was a matter of seeing out the Manipur attacks, a responsibility that the likes of Sethu defenders Ashalata Devi and Sweety Devi, and midfielders Sumithra, Ratanbala and Indumathi carried out perfectly.

Hero IWL 2018-19 Individual Awards:

Highest Scorer: Bala Devi, Manipur Police

Best Goalkeeper: Linthoi, Gokulam Kerala FC

Emerging Player of the Tournament: Ratanbala Devi, Sethu FC

Most Valuable Player of the Tournament: Sandhiya, Sethu FC

IWL 2019 Final: Sethu FC take on Manipur Police SC in the clash of titans

LUDHIANA: The summit clash of the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League is upon us, and it’s a re-match of a Group II game – Manipur Police SC vs Sethu FC. The two clubs have undoubtedly been arguably the best sides in the tournament so far, and have made it so far on the back of some magnificent wins.

While Sethu have upheld a perfect record in the tournament so far, Manipur Police have suffered but one glitch, a 4-6 loss against Sethu during the group stage. However, that match will be long forgotten, as the two sides will look to renew their rivalries for the Hero IWL Final.

MANIPUR POLICE SC

41 goals from six matches. Let that figure sink in.

Manipur Police have been on hot form, having earned two massive 10-0 victories against SAI-STC Cuttack and Bangalore United. The side from the North-east has the mercurial Bala Devi in its attack. The 29-year-old has scored a whopping 26 goals from six matches, firmly perching her at the top of the scorers’ charts.

Supporting Bala up front is Daya Devi, who has proved to be a versatile player for Head Coach Surmala Devi. The India U-19 international has operated both on the wings and alongside striker Bala, to give Manipur a diversity in the way they approach different matches.

However, Manipur Police have been prone to conceding goals, something that their attack has made up for well. They have let in 10 goals from six matches in the tournament so far.

“In our last match against Sethu, we did not have much of an opportunity to practice together. We had all come together in the last three-four days,” said Chanu. “But that will not happen now. We have played well since then, and we will try to strengthen both our attack and our defence, in order to tackle the Sethu challenge.”

What would be more troubling for Coach Surmala Chanu is the fact that their first choice centreback Romi Devi is suspended from the final, after she was sent off in the semifinal against Gokulam for a hand ball on the goalline.

SETHU FC

If Manipur have scored 41 goals, Sethu have gone one better in their six matches so far.

What has made the Tamil Nadu side so strong is the fact that they do not really have any one constant source of goals. Their front three have fired on all cylinders – while their Nepal international striker Sabitra Bhandari has pumped in 13 goals from six games, India international wingers Dangmei Grace and Sandhiya have scored eight and seven goals apiece.

Their defence has also looked relatively strong, having conceded only five in six games so far. The likes of Sweety Devi and Ashalata Devi have kept a strong central backline for Sethu, giving the midfielders a base upon which they could launch their attacks.

However, four of these five goals were conceded against Manipur Police in their Group Stage game. However, Sethu FC Head Coach Amrutha Aravind is not too worried about the previous encounter.

“Manipur are a good side. They have scored a lot of goals so far. But that does not mean that we will sit back. We also believe in an attacking game,” said Amrutha. “We have worked on our transition from defence to attack. Let’s see how that works out tomorrow.”

One player who has been crucial for Sethu has been India international midfielder Ratanbala Devi. The 24-year-old has been the engine in the middle of the park for the Maduria-based side, helping them convert a defensive manoeuvre into attack in the blink of an eye. Her box-to-box play has helped Ratanbala score eight goals from midfield.

With two attacking sides raring to have a go at each other, we are sure to have an absolute cracker of a Final on the cards. As to who will take away the coveted trophy at the end of the day, we will have to wait and watch.

IWL 2019: Sethu FC thrash SSB to setup Manipur Police final

LUDHIANA: Sethu FC produced a brilliant performance against a hapless SSB Women FC, as the Tamil Nadu based side engineered a 8-1 victory at the Guru Nanak Stadium, here, on Monday. This win sends Sethu into the Hero Indian Women’s League Final, where they will face Manipur Police.

Sabitra Bhandari netted four goals to take her tournament tally up to 13 from six appearances, but it was Dangmei Grace, who stole the show with her display from the right wing, as she scored a hat-trick and made a couple of assists to take the Player of the Match Award.

SSB started off the game with a higher tempo, laying a proverbial siege on the Sethu penalty area. They created plenty of chances in the opening exchanges, but failed to capitalise on them, something that cost them dearly later on.

It did not take Sethu much time to capitalise on the early missed chances by SSB, as Dangmei Grace put them in the lead within the first quarter of an hour. The India international was on form in the second semifinal of the day, as she created the chance that led to the second goal, as she put in a low cross from the right that was finished off by Nepal international Sabitra Bhandari.

Grace soon added a third on the stroke of half time, to make it a convincing lead for Sethu as they headed into the tunnel.

It was much of a cat-and-mouse game in the second half, as SSB pressed forward, looking to reduce the deficit, but Sethu kept hitting them with swift counter-attacks.

Grace scored one a few minutes after the restart, while Sabitra Bhandari scored two more as both the India and the Nepal internationals completed their hat-tricks, before Dular Marandi pulled one back for SSB. However, Ratanbala soared up the pitch from the restart and immediately restored Sethu’s six-goal cushion just a minute later.

This massive win means that Sethu will join Manipur Police in the final on Wednesday, May 22 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, in a day’s time.

IWL 2019: Manipur Police beat Gokulam Kerala to reach final

LUDHIANA: Manipur Police made their way to the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League Final after a thrilling performance that saw them beat Gokulam Kerala FC 4-2 despite being one player down for almost the entirety of the second half at the Guru Nanak Stadium, here on Monday.

Bala Devi was the star of the show yet again, as she netted all four of the Manipur goals to help them come back from being 1-2 down after the North-eastern side’s defender Romi Devi was sent off on the 47th minute.

Manipur Police went on the offensive early on and started creating a lot of chances. Unlike their previous game, they started with a 4-4-2 formation with Bala Devi and Daya Devi operating up front. Bala dropped deep to add more numbers to the Manipur midfield and feed the balls to Daya.

It was one of these moves that got Manipur their goal on the quarter-hour mark. Daya was played into the box via an aerial through ball, but was fouled by Gokulam centreback Poli Koley. The referee immediately pointed to the spot, and Bala Devi converted the penalty to put the side from the North-east in front.

Gokulam were having some trouble to get their attacks going, as Manipur made a concerted effort to crowd out Manisha, who was playing in the attacking midfield role. Soon, they made a couple of tactical changes that turned things in their favour.

Poli Koley was brought off, as the Kerala side pushed Lako Bhutia to the centreback position, while Naocha Devi came on to take up the holding midfield spot alongside captain Dalima Chhibber. Soon after, Gokulam gaffer pushed Manisha up front, while Anju Tamang played in the hole behind her.

This new approach started working for Gokulam, as they started to play their counter-attacks off Manisha. They finally got their equaliser through a corner, as Bina Devi turned it into her own net from a melee.

Gokulam came out with the early initiative in the second half, and Anju Tamang penetrated the Manipur box and fired a shot that was blocked off the line. However, it had struck Romi Devi’s hand and she was subsequently sent off. Ranjana Chanu converted the ensuing penalty to put Gokulam in front for the first time.

Manipur, however, did not lie low, despite being one player down. They pressed forward, and earned another foul inside the opposition box, which gave them a penalty to equalise from. Bala Devi duly converted it to put her side level.

The Daya-Bala combination finally worked out, as the former soared in from the left and sent in a low cross for Bala to convert from close range with a little over 10 minutes of regulation time left on the clock. A minute later, it was a bit of individual brilliance that did the magic for Manipur, as Bala turned fullback Linthoi inside-out, and fired a left-footer into the bottom corner.

With this performance, Bala now moves on to 26 goals six matches in the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League, as Manipur Police progress to the final.

IWL 2019: Rising Student Club end campaign with win over FC Alakhpura

LUDHIANA: Rising Student Club managed to post their first win of the campaign, as they beat FC Alakhpura 2-1 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, on Friday.

Sibani Sharma and Ashrita Kangadi scored the two goals for RSC, while Raveena had pulled one back in between for Alakhpura.

RSC had the early start, as they dominated possession in the opening exchanges and passed it around near their attacking third. It took them just eight minutes to break the deadlock. 

Sibani Sharma lined up a free-kick from about 30 yards out. She thundered the ball towards Alakhpura goalkeeper Neelam, who managed to get a palm to it, but there was just too much power in that shot as the ball tumbled over the line.

That gave RSC more initiative to go forward in attack, as they pressed forward in attack. This gave Alakhpura the perfect opportunity to hit the Odisha side on the counter, as Raveena finished off a goalmouth melee to score the equaliser.

However, it did not take long for RSC to regain their lead, as Ashrita Kangadi finished off another attack just seconds after the Alakhpura goal.

The side from Haryana came out with more conviction in the second half, as substitute Pooja Devi took control in the middle of the park. With this result, RSC have posted their first win of the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League campaign. However, both the sides were already out of contention for the semifinals.