Hoping to see light at the end of the tunnel, Aditi Chauhan, the torchbearer of Indian women football, has called for “greater participation of private sector” and felt a cultural shift is taking place for better as far as the game is concerned.
In 2015, the 24-year-old Aditi became the first Indian female footballer to play for a professional club in the United Kingdom, but had to return to India in January after her student visa expired. She made a stellar comeback when Loubourough University, where she was studying, gave her a part-time job, which offered her a chance to continue representing West Ham Ladies. Right now, the goalkeeper is in Siliguri guarding the Indian team post in SAFF Championships. “The AIFF (All India Football Federation) has put in a lot of effort towards developing women’s football and it will be even better if the private sector also contribute a bit more,” Aditi said.
With the introduction of women’s I-League, Aditi felt the game is headed in the right direction here. She feels the recent spurt in activities around women’s football is due to India’s prolonged dominance in the South Asian region.
“Over the years (women) football in India has grown, especially the SAFF tournament, which we have always won. Our dominance in South Asia shows that there is huge potential. Hopefully, we will keep getting better and play at the top level in Asia soon. Women’s I-League is a step in the right direction,” she said.