Indian Women's League: Punjab Bank on their Own Manisha Kalyan to Inspire Young Girls
Manisha Kalyan, the only girl from Punjab in the Indian women's national team, will play for Gokulam Kerala FC in the Indian Women's League.
Manisha Kalyan was picked in the Indian team after her performances at AFC U-19 Women's Championship Qualifiers last year. (Photo Credit: AIFF)
Ludhiana: Punjab is a state that is well known to have supplied many top players to the men's national team. However, that is not the case when it comes to women's football. Punjab Football Association General Secretary Harjinder Singh believes that hosting the 2019 Hero Indian Women's League at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana will help bring women's football to the fore in the state and inspire young girls to take up the sport.
The current Indian Women's Team has one player from Punjab in it - Manisha. The 17-year-old was recently included in the national team fold by head coach Maymol Rocky, after having shown her mettle with the India U-19 side in the AFC U-19 Women's Championship Qualifiers last year.
"Manisha is one of our own, from Hoshiarpur. It's because of her performances with the junior and senior national teams that she has now got a contract with a club like Gokulam Kerala FC," said Harjinder.
The PFA General Secretary hopes that Manisha, with more eye-catching performances in the Hero IWL, can inspire the next crop of girls to take up football as a sport.
"The young girls here in Punjab will get to see Manisha play after a long time. Hopefully, she can motivate them to go on and do great things in the game," he continued.
However, Harjinder stressed on the importance of improving the quality of coaching within the state, especially that in women's football.
"We have conducted a few coaching courses - D-License in Amritsar and C-License in Roorkee. We have also tried to educate and upgrade the existing coaches of the team," said Harjinder.
Apart from coaching, the Punjab Football Association is also making the effort to develop women's football across all the three age categories - senior, junior and sub-junior.
"We are making our full effort to ensure that women's football progresses in our state. We already have women's teams across all the three age categories in the National Football Championships. Our senior team even made to the Quarterfinals last time around," he explained.
The Hero IWL is set to see as many as 12 teams square-off against each other. These 12 teams are divided into two groups of six teams each. FC Alakhpura and Hans Women FC are set to kick-start the tournament on Sunday at 8 am, with Rising Students Club playing Gokulam Kerala at 4pm.
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