Shillong will host the second edition of Indian Women’s League (IWL 2018) as seven teams will fight it out in the League cum knock-out tournament starting March 25, 2018. Here is a quick fact check on the IWL 2018.
1. Seven Teams will participate in the IWL 2018
The second edition of IWL will witness the participation of seven teams, Eastern Sporting Union, Rising Student Club, KRYHPSA, India Rush Soccer Club, Sethu FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Indira Gandhi Academy for Sports & Education. The second edition will have two teams from Manipur, two from Tamilnadu and one each from Orissa, Kerala and Maharashtra.
2. Eastern Sporting Union are the defending champions
Eastern Sporting Union from Manipur won the crown last year beating Rising Students Club from Orissa 3-0 with two goals from Kamala Devi and a goal from Prameshswori Devi.
3. Gokulam Kerala FC is the only team to get direct entry into the final round
Gokulam Kerala FC is the only team to get direct entry into the final as the format of the tournament allows club teams from I League teams direct entry if they field a women’s team in the IWL. Gokulam FC will be managed by India’s former U-19 coach PV Priya and expected to build a strong squad of local talent alongside a couple of overseas players to challenge for the title.
4. Gokulam Kerala FC has signed two Ugandan women’s National team footballers
Gokulam Kerala FC has made their intention clear in their debut season by signing two Ugandan overseas players Fazila Ikwaput and Rittah Nabbosa who have represented the Ugandan National Women’s team and also Olila Women’s High School FC, a top club in Uganda’s Women’s league. Fazila Ikwaput is a special talent as the twenty-four-year-old has won Federation of Ugandan Football Association’s Women’s Footballer of the Year award for the 2017-18 season.
5. No representation from footballing powerhouses like Bengal, Goa and Mizoram
The Indian Women’s League will see the battle of 7 teams Eastern Sporting Union, Rising Student Club, KRYHPSA, India Rush Soccer Club, Sethu FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Indira Gandhi Academy for Sports & Education, representing just five states while traditional footballing powerhouses like Bengal, Goa and Mizoram will see no teams due to lack of interest from regional federations to encourage women’s game and apathy of big clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Churchill Brothers, Aizawl FC to invest in women’s football.
The Federation will be hoping IWL will help to build a strong footballing culture for women’s football across the nation and also helps to scout the right talent for the national team and greater fan-participation through increased viewership through Federations social media live stream channels.
AIFF President Praful Patel said: “This is a beginning for the women’s game in the country. The IWL will only get bigger with every day. The league gives our women footballers the option to take [football] up as a career.”