Mon, 01 Jun 2020

Leeds [UK], Apr 15 (ANI): Dalima Chibber, the Indian International and Gokulam Kerela right-back on Monday credited the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for supporting women's football in India.

"The AIFF has put in a lot of hard work, considering the exposure and opportunities they have given us. They are doing their part. The point here is the support that the federation gets in terms of promoting the sport," quoted Chhibber as saying.

The 21-year-old was seen saying that the women football would improve in the country if more Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League teams start participating in Indian women's league.

"It would be better if more ISL and I-League teams start participating in IWL. Even this year, we have only Gokulam participating in the IWL. Now only if these clubs come in and develop a football team, imagine the fans that they have," Chhibber said.

"If they make people aware of women's football, imagine the impact it is going to have on their fans and the people who follow those clubs. Even the All India Football Federation (AIFF) needs support, in terms of broadcast and other factors," she added.

The Delhi-born Chhibber has become a first-choice right-back for the Maymol Rocky's senior national team. The player was quite impressive in the IWL last season and she was instrumental in India's triumph in the SAFF Cup.

India defeated Nepal in the finals of the SAFF Cup to win the tournament for the fifth time.

"A lot of practice has gone into (scoring long-range goals) and it has made me confident. I felt really good (after scoring vs Nepal), my phone wouldn't stop buzzing after the goal. It was a great feeling that people got to know the potential of women's football in India," Chhibber said.

India hosted a very successful 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, and now they have won the rights to host the 2020 U-17 Women's World Cup. Chibber is hopeful that the event will encourage more young girls to take up football as a career.

"It will be a step in the right direction, it is always the best to work with the junior age group. It will bring out a lot of young women footballers, it will be an encouragement for people to pick up football and know how you can make a career in it. It will help the senior team as well, in the long run, to get better players from a young age," Chhibber said.

Chibber made her international debut in the 2016 SAFF Women's Championship against Afghanistan but the player scored her first goal in 2019 SAFF Women's championship against Bangladesh. (ANI)

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