Football introduced in India for males in the 19th century. But, for women, women’s football came much later in the 1970s. There were not many tournaments that women could play. But, today the scenario has changed and the Indian women football team is directly managed by the All India football federation and represents India in Women’s International Football tournament.
The Indian Women Football team was at its peak in the 1970s and 1980s where they won many championships and soon the team will mark its presence in the FIFA World Cup and Olympics. So, let us know more in detail about the Indian Women football team, who has won all the SAFF cup championships.
History of Indian Women Football Team
As said earlier, the foundation of women’s football in India was established in the 1970s, and in 1975 Sushil Bhattacharya was the first manager of the Indian women football team. From 1975 to 1991 the team was under the Women’s Football Federation of India.
The Asian Ladies Football Confederation under which the WFFI worked did not have recognition from FIFA or Asian Football Confederation and both of these organizations refrained countries from participating in the Asian Ladies Football Confederation tournaments. Let us have a look at the winning era of Indian women football team.
1980 – 2009
As a result of the pressure from FIFA and AFC, the first few AFC women’s football championship tournaments were unofficial and saw very few countries participating in the tournament. In 1980, when the tournament was held at Calicut, there were two Indian teams participating. The list of the teams was India N, India S, Western Australia, Taiwan, Hongkong, and Malaysia.
India did well in this tournament and Indians became runners up in the tournament. In 1981 and 1983 the Indian team got defeated by Thailand and became runners up for the third consecutive time.
The AIFF did not take many actions to promote Women’s football in India. As a result of which Indian women football team and the management went into a state of gloom. From 1991, the Women’s Football Federation of India was legally merged with the All India football federation.
In 1991 FIFA took up the challenge of improving women’s football worldwide by organizing FIFA women’s world cup in 1991 and then the 1996 Summer Olympics tournament. But, AIFF was still idle, as a result of which the Indian Women Football team suffered a lot in 1998 Asian games and in the years to come.
In the 1998 Asian Games, the Indian National team was defeated by the Chinese Taipei by 1-13 and then in the third match by Chinese PR by 0-16. These defeats were a major setback for the Indian football team. Another setback came in 2003 when again in the Asian Games the Chinese PR defeated the Indian team by 12-1, and the third one came in 2009 when FIFA delisted the Indian Women Football team for being inactive for more than 18 months.
2010 – present
After the ban from FIFA in 2009, the All India Football Federation started taking an active interest in Indian Women’s Football, and hence it led to the development of SAFF women’s championship and the team also started participating in the South Asian Games. This step actually helped in the growth and development of Indian Women’s football.
The Indian Women football team was the winner of the SAFF women’s championship five times in a row in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2019. They also won the South Asian Games three times in a row in 2010,2016, and 2019. In March 2011 the team participated in the 2012 Olympics qualifiers. They defeated Bangladesh by 3-0 in the first match and the second match with Uzbekistan was a draw by 1-1, but, the team lost in the second leg by 1-5 and hence were out of the tournament.
The team again participated in the 2014 Asian games where they won the first match against the Maldives by 15-0 but lost the other two matches to South Korea and Thailand by 0-10. In the Rio Olympics 2016, the team participated in the AFC qualifiers.
The first match against Sri Lanka was a win by 4-1, but they lost to Myanmar in the second match by 0-7 and hence were out of the tournament.
In August 2018 The Indian Women Football team was invited to play in the Cotif tournament where the clubs and national teams and autonomous teams participate every year since 1984. In this tournament also the team did not do well. They were defeated in the first match by Fundacion Albacete by 1-4, in the second match, Levente UD defeated them by 0-5, they were defeated by Moroccan side by 1-5, and by Madrid CFF by 0-1. Although the Indian team played really well and with maturity in the last match.
In November 2018, the Indian team qualified for the 2nd round of 2020 AFC Women’s Qualifiers for the 2020 Summer Olympics. In order to qualify for the 2nd round, the Indian team played two matches each against Hongkong and Indonesia and won all four of them by 5-2, 1-0, 3-0, and 2-0 respectively.
They also participated in the Women’s Gold Cup where they won the first match against Iran by 1-0 but lost the other two matches against Nepal by 1-2 and Myanmar by 0-2 and failed to reach the finals of the tournament.
Currently, the Indian Women Football team stands at 57th position in the FIFA world ranking and 11th among Asian countries.
Current Squad of Indian Women Football Team
Here is the list of the current squad of Indian Women Football Team
Goalkeepers: Aditi Chauhan, Malgam Linthoingambi Devi, and Elangbam Panthoi Chanu
Defenders: Nganbam Sweety Devi, Jabamani Tudu, Loitongbam Ashalata Devi, Ashem Roja Devi, Michelle Margaret Castanha, and W. Linthoingambi Devi
Midfielders: Sangita Basfore, Manisha Kalyan, Ritu Rani, Sumithra Kamraj, Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi, and Sorokhaibam Ranjana Chanu
Forwards: Anju Tamang, Sandhya Ranganathan, Dangmei Grace, Daya Devi Heigrujam, and Ngangom Bala Devi
So, this is all we know about the Indian Women Football team and we would like to share this knowledge with you. If you know something more about it, do let us know in the comments section.