WOMEN´S SENIOR TEAM HAILS
On Friday, FIFA announced India as the hosts for the FIFA U-17 Women´s World Cup in 2020, which will be the first time the nation will host and take part at the tournament in its history. It will also be the second FIFA World Cup event being held in India in four years - the first being the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017.
The development, which was hailed as a "proud moment" by AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel, sparked immense joy in the senior women´s team as well, who are currently in Nepal for the SAFF Women´s Championships 2019.
"My initial reaction was ´Wow´!" said head coach Maymol Rocky, before stating that hosting the World Cup will be a huge step in developing the sport and increasing its popularity, especially among girls.
"I am delighted that an Indian women´s team will take part at a World Cup for the very first time. It will increase awareness about women´s football and in the process, create a bigger base for subsequent age-group and senior national teams - which is good for us as coaches as well," she stated.
Coach Maymol also said that like the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, this competition will pave the way for the sport to grow pan-India. "The U-17 World Cup in 2017 was a huge success and this is a chance to carry forward the excellent work," she declared.
She added, "It has helped spread the game across the country and we have seen some great talents come out from that team as well. We can expect the same from the girls´ team that will play in 2020 and a few years down the line, it will only help add more quality in the senior team as well."
Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan hailed the news as a "gamechanger" for the sport in India, stating that it will be a "great platform" for future players. "I´m very excited that India will host the FIFA U-17 Women´s World Cup next," she said.
"It will be a golden opportunity for the girls to step up and change the way women´s football is looked at in our country. We are already moving in a positive direction and this World Cup will accelerate the process and can be a real gamechanger for us," the custodian added.
Defender Dalima Chhibber opined that the opportunity to play in a World Cup will promote participation from women in the sport. She stated, "The World Cup will be a great platform for young girls. I feel that this will encourage parents to support their children in playing football and push more youngsters to take up the sport."