Former India footballer and the newly elected AIFF Executive Committee member Tababi Devi feels that the national teams need to climb higher in the FIFA rankings and for that they must fight together every step of the way.
Tababi — an eminent player, who represented the Blue Tigresses up until 2011 with distinction, was co-opted into the AIFF’s Executive Committee earlier this month. She will be a part of Indian football’s highest decision-making body for the next four years.
“We now have two former women footballers in the Executive Committee, and it is a great honour and opportunity for us to represent the women’s football community at the top administrative level,” said Tababi in an AIFF release.
“This new refreshing change now means that 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,” she added.
Former India captain’s key objective is to help the national teams climb the FIFA Rankings.
“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,” she said.
While there is always great room for improvement, Tababi believes that women’s football in India has already come a long way from her playing days.
Tababi, a regular with the national team during her playing days, had represented the senior women’s team in prestigious tournaments like the Asian Games, 2011 South Asian Games, and many more important meets.
“I think 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.
Tababi further said that a strong grassroots programme is required to help women’s football further grow.
“I am from Manipur, and one thing I’ve 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,” she 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,” she added.
With the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup set to be held in India next month, the former India player 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,” she added.