From Monalisa Barua Mehta to Hima Das and Lovlina Borgohain, individual athletes have brought Assam accolades for decades, but when it comes to two of the country’s most popular team sports, girls can’t reach those heights.
Players from Assam are now honing their cricket and football skills.
Among other things, the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) has worked to promote women’s cricket locally and ensure the visibility of female players.
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“Training camps are not enough. Our players need to be competitive and while the COVID-19 pandemic has been a deterrent for the past two years, the ACA is doing everything it can to give them the best possible resilience,” said Association Secretary Devajit Saikia of PTI.
The ACA launched the first-ever women’s inter-district tournament this year and named it after freedom fighter Kanaklata Barua, he said.
Last year, the tournament was held in the inter-zonal category, but in 2022 it was upgraded to the inter-district level.
The ACA secretary said: “The inter-district tournament encouraged young girls to play the game more systematically and professionally. »
The ACA also hosted a T20 Challengers trophy between six teams that included the best players from the 18 districts that competed in the Kanaklata Barua tournament, Saikia said.
“The T20 Challengers Trophy turned out to be a highly competitive tournament as six teams were tied.
Our players can’t compete if they don’t have game training and we can’t just focus on the men’s team. We have promising girls and we want to make sure they have enough support and accessibility,” said the ACA secretary.
“Assam’s older women have so far been rated as average both as a team and individually,” said another ACA spokesperson.
In terms of football, Guwahati City Football Club (GCFC) will be the first club in Assam to play in the top women’s football division. Their senior women’s team will start the campaign in the Indian Women’s League (IWL) Qualifying Round starting April 1st at the Dr. Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.
The team will take on Youth Welfare Club (Manipur), ARA FC (Gujarat) and Golazo FC (Himachal Pradesh) to earn a spot in the main round of the Indian Women’s Hero League.
The top-scoring teams will qualify for the main round, which has already qualified for the state champions. Since Assam does not organize a women’s state league, the GCFC has been nominated for the qualifiers by the Assam Football Association (AFA) in accordance with the rules of the Indian Football Federation (AIFF), said GCFC director Siddhartha Sankar Deka.
Thanking the AFA for appointing the club, GCFC manager Kaustab Chakraborty urged him to organize a women’s and men’s state league starting next season.
“Starting next season, there will be no more state nominations unless state leagues are organized,” Chakraborty said.
Head coach Bidhan Das said the team is mostly made up of local under-18 girls and the focus will be on gaining experience so they can win the state league next season to qualify directly for the IWL.
GCFC manager Deka says that since the club has been nominated, it must bear travel and accommodation costs until it reaches the final round.
“We have reached out to the state government and we hope that the government will help the club in this regard.
“Several football players have been on the national team as well as other teams playing in leagues at different national levels, but the performance of the state as a unit has lagged mainly due to a lack of training and we hope this will change for the better soon,” Deka told PTI. .
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