NEW DELHI: Oinam Bembem Devi, former midfielder of the Indian Women's football team, has been one of the foremost advocates of women's football in India for a number of years and she expressed her jubilation about the tournament.
The Padma Shri recipient buoyantly expressed her thoughts about the tournament saying, "I am extremely happy that women's football in India is getting such a positive response from the people because of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2022."
Bembem Devi, who is also an Arjuna Awardee, talked about the cultural shift towards women's football in India that is set to take place due to the mega sporting event, "The FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2022 has shown to the parents that there are opportunities in India for women's football that can be explored and this tournament is the perfect way to shine the spotlight on women's football in India."
"When it was announced that the tournament would be held in India a lot of parents of female footballers from all over the country called and asked about how their daughters could become part of the Indian squad set to play at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2022 or get a trial for the team," she added.
Bembem went on to talk about the potential of women's football in India saying, "This World Cup will definitely have a very positive impact on women's football in India as this will act as the perfect springboard for a constructive cultural change towards women's football in the country."
Bembem Devi, who is also known as The Durga of Indian Football, had a message for the fans and spectators.
"I have a request and message for all the spectators that this is the first time India is hosting the U-17 Women's World Cup and the players could use all the encouragement and support of the fans so that the players are motivated to give their best on the field," she said.
"I request everyone to come to the stadiums for the games so that there is immense support for the young girls participating in this World Cup. We will be cheering the players on and showing our unwavering support for the team. I am sure that if we encourage the players they will give more than a hundred per cent in the matches." Bembem concluded.
The U-17 Indian Women's Team has been drawn in Group A alongside the likes of Morocco, Brazil, and the United States of America (USA). The FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2022 will be held in three locations - Navi Mumbai, Goa and Bhubaneswar. The Indian team will play all their games at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.