In Delhi, Football has been a tale of two contrasting stories and a tale of two different genders. While the northern part of India has failed to participate in the country’s elite men’s competitions, Women have played their parts to the fullest, in the growth of football, as a sport. Delhi Girls like Jyoti Burrett and Swati Rawat are some of the numerous famous faces, in the Indian Women’s National Camp. With possible brainchild coming out in form of Women’s Competitions, perhaps Delhi is set to be the next big hub for Women’s Football.
Foot and Ball, an organisation developed by Disha Malhotra, started a spark which could lead to a fire and revolutionize Indian Women’s Football. Foot and Ball, held a an inaugural FAB Women’s Football Tournament on 5th of October. The Tournament was held in the Cathedral of Football in Delhi, The Thyagraj Stadium. The Tournament featured, a staggering 13 teams, which were divided into two groups, the U-19 and the Open Sections. The U-19 group consisted of high profile squads, such as Manthan, which would turn out to be the eventual champions, Carmel Convent School and My Angels Academy.
Meanwhile, the Open Category consisted of ‘heavy’ teams such as Girls in Boots, which included Indian National Team’s striker Jyoti Burrett, AIFF Grass-root instructor Anju Turambekar and 14 year old wonder kid Mariya Khan.
A seven a side tournament, which started at eight in the morning and concluded at six in the evening, demolished every negative dogma built around Women’s Football, in general. Witnessing the scorching heat of the sun, the girls played tirelessly, in their quest to win the tournament. The U-19 Final was held between Manthan and Star Shooters Academy, with the former triumphing the latter .
Big guns and heavy artillery was on display, in the Open Finals, as Girls in Boots who already boasted a star studded squad took on GLS girls, which consisted of Indian U-19 players such as Anita Rawat, Naobi Chanu and Indian Women’s Team’s Swati Rawat. The match which was played on a high tempo, was eye candy for the viewers. End to end stuff, with regular goal threats at each end, resulted in a very competitive match. After minutes of heavy blows being exchanged, Jyoti Burrett rushed on to score the winner, as Girls in boots edged GLS by 1 goal to nil.
The tournament also featured the Indian Super League franchisee Delhi Dynamos, who encouraged and applauded the girls for their commitment and hard work. Delhi Dynamo’s Assistant Manager Shakti Chauhan, a well known figure in Women’s football, was also present at the tournament, to share his insights and thoughts. The highly acclaimed YUWA Girls also made appearance, and displayed their skill in an exhibition match against U-19 winners, Manthan.
In a city, in which women often fail to play football, due to lack of facilities, perhaps this tournament has been a blessing for one and all. An initiative taken by the FAB group, with plans to expand further in the near future, they have provided a suitable platform to accommodate and display talent, which is already present in women’s football.
Currently, the Indian Eves are ranked 50th in the world, 108 spots better than the Mens, who are ranked 158th, worldwide.