U-17 Women's C'ship chance for players to showcase talent ahead of WC: Ambrose

Philem Dipak Singh

New Delhi, Nov 12 (PTI) As India prepares to host the U-17 FIFA Women's World Cup next year, the junior footballers are getting a chance to take a shot at being a part of the team that will represent the country in the mega event.

Four teams -- the Lionesses, the Panthers, the Tigresses and the Cheetahs -- are vying for honours in U-17 Women's Championship in Kalyani, West Bengal, which kicked off on Monday.

India U-17 women's team assistant coach Alex Ambrose will himself be taking charge of one of the four teams, and she believes that the exposure that the girls will get by playing this tournament would be huge.

'It is a huge thing that these girls will get to play in a tournament like this. The pressure will be there, because it will be broadcasted across the country. They need to know that when they represent the country, the nation will also rally in their support,' said Ambrose.

Ambrose said that the tournament will give him and head coach Thomas Dennerby the chance to look at a large pool of players from the country, as they shape the India U-17 women's team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year.

'It really is a unique tournament, where we will get to see so many players from across the country showcase their talent. The Head Coach is also here assessing all the players, and i think it could go a long way in helping us shaping the team for the World Cup,' he said.

Indian women's footballing legend Bembem Devi is also in charge of one of the teams in the tournament. She believes that with a year to go for the U-17 World Cup, this is the right time to stage this national tournament, as it would give the talented players a platform.

'We have just about a year to go, and the Hero U-17 Women's Championship could help bring into focus a number of talented girls. This could only help the India U-17 team that would play in the World Cup, as it could help the coach have a bigger pool of players to pick from, and competition for places is always a great motivator for the players to improve themselves,' said Bembem.

'Of course, such initiatives are great for the girls who want to play football at the top level when they grow up. Over the last few years, women's football has improved by leaps and bounds. We now have a professional league that has already supplied the national team with so many players,' she said. PTI PDS PDSPDS