World Cup, Olympic qualification key for women’s football, says board member Pinky Bompal Magar

By Soumo Ghosh
AIFF media team

NEW DELHI: Women’s football in India has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years and will continue to develop with two former India Internationals serving on the AIFF’s Executive Committee.

Pinky Bompal Magar, a former Blue Tigresses forward, was co-opted into both the Executive Committee and the Technical Committee as an outstanding player, where she will join the other members in making decisions that would shape the future of Indian football. Magar, who herself won the SAFF Women’s Championship twice (2010 and 2012), believes doing well in some of the major international tournaments will go a long way towards spreading women’s football in India.

“All of us in the Executive Committee and the Technical Committee want to work towards the development of football and we are working very hard on that,” said Magar. “We all have a number of things that we want to discuss and take specific steps and we want to focus on that.

“One of the things is the regular participation of the women’s national team in the Asian Games and the performance in the qualifiers for the World Cup and the Asian Cup. The Olympic Qualifiers are also coming up next year and that’s another area where we want to do well,” said Magar. “Another critical point is of course the rankings, both for the women’s and men’s teams.”

With the upcoming Technical Committee and Executive Committee meetings due to take place in just a few days, the former Indian striker is grateful for the chance to be one of the decision makers of Indian football.

“I would like to personally thank all the authorities who brought about such a change and also thank all the other outstanding players for their support and understanding,” said Magar. “The President (Kalyan Chauby) was a player himself, and Secretary-General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran was a FIFA development officer so they understand very well what needs to be done to move Indian football forward.”

Magar, who also won gold at the 2010 South Asian Games in Dhaka, Bangladesh, believes the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, to be played in India, is a great opportunity for the current U-17 Group will be girls to get a good presence and improve.

“I am very happy that the World Cup is taking place in India. It’s a great opportunity for the girls to understand how to play at this level, which bodes well for the future of the senior team,” she said. “You have my best wishes. I want to tell them to be confident and have faith in the home support they will receive.

“It’s important that these girls move through these age groups because that’s how they grow step by step,” Magar continued.

While much is yet to change, women’s football in India has certainly come a long way.

“Football has come a long way. The current players are getting a lot of things that we never thought of,” Magar said. “Their games are broadcast, which is always a great motivator for a player, and they get a lot of exposure, which benefits them ahead of crucial games.”

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