Now, Mizoram’s all-out push to promote women’s football
Mizoram Football Association is planning a professional women’s league from the 2018 season, which is likely to be modelled on the Mizoram Premier League that has become the player factory for top-rung clubs across IndiaUpdated: Apr 29, 2017 18:48 IST
Men’s football has come a long way in Mizoram. It’s over to the women now.
The Mizoram Football Association (MFA) has admitted that it has not promoted women’s football in the state with the kind of zeal for men’s.
It now wants to make up for lost time to make the state’s women footballers a force to reckon with. The MFA has thus planned a professional women’s league from the 2018 season. This league is likely to be modelled on the Mizoram Premier League (MPL) that has since birth in 2012 become the player factory for top-rung clubs across India.
“Women in Mizoram are as passionate about football as men. In fact, they comprise at least half the spectators of a football match on any given day, which is unheard of elsewhere in the country,” MFA secretary Lalnghinglova Hmar told HT.
The MFA hopes local firms and investors will come forward to form women’s football clubs for the professional league to kick-start. It is also banking on support from a local TV channel that has been the fiscal backbone of MPL.
Unlike the men, Mizoram’s women footballers have lagged behind. The only high was in 2015 when the state team won the sub-junior girls’ national championship.
“We don’t expect much from our senior women’s team simply because they did not have the best of coaching or facilities when they started out 10-15 years ago. But the girls under 18 are shaping up very well,” Peter Lalzawmliana, secretary of MFA’s women’s committee, said.
Nine of these girls have been selected for the U-18 for the national camp. They include Offie Lalhmingchhuanpuii and school dropouts Kaptluangi and Ruatfeli.
Offie is considered the best striker in Mizoram while Ruatfeli has been the best player for three consecutive years at a major women’s football league in Mizoram.
“The girls have potential to become some of India’s best footballers,” coach Lalsangzuala Hmar, preparing the women’s team for the senior national football championship from May 15, said.
Lalsangzuala is Mizoram’s leading football coach and had guided two local clubs to MPL wins.
“But to be the best, we have to ensure the girls can focus on their football, not get caught up --- like most tribal girls in the rural areas --- in domestic chores and farming,” Peter said.
First Published: Apr 29, 2017 17:53 IST