Former women’s football team captain Tababi Devi wants strong pan-India base at grassroots level | Football News

NEW DELHI: The profile of the country’s women’s football has made quite a lot of improvement in recent times but it still needs building a strong pan-India base at the grassroots level, feels former captain Tababi Devi.
Tababi, one of the six former India players — four male and two female — to be co-opted in the Executive Committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), said the grassroots development model of her state Manipur can be implemented in other states.
“I am from Manipur, and one thing I have seen so far is that so many quality players come through in women’s football from our state. There is only one reason for that. There is a strong base at the grassroots level in Manipur,” Tababi said.
“If we can implement similar models across other states as well, we will naturally see the level of women’s football increase exponentially in the coming years,” said the former India skipper who retired in 2011.
Tababi said the Indian women’s team needs to climb up the FIFA rankings by producing quality players.
“There has been much improvement recently. A lot of tournaments do take place now, and our girls get to play more frequently than what we used to. We have seen the effects of that, and so many good players are coming through the ranks now,” she said in an AIFF release.
“We need to go up the rankings, and we need to fight together every step of the way, to climb higher. The main aim is to take measures, because of which more quality players will keep coming through.”
Talking about the co-option of former India players in the executive committee with right to vote, she said, “We now have two former women footballers in Executive Committee, and it’s great honour and opportunity for us to represent women’s football community at the top administrative level.
“This new refreshing change now means that the we get a direct voice at the administrative level, and I am sure that we can now begin to take better steps towards improving women’s football in India.”
With the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup set to be held in India next month, Tababi is looking forward to the ripple effect a tournament of that stature could have on the women’s game in the country.
“These are exciting times. The World Cup is coming up next month, and that would give the parents all across the nation the opportunity to see what their daughters could potentially do, if they are allowed to play football from a young age,” she said.
“I hope this helps inspire all the aspiring little girls out there too.”

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