On October 6, 2021, the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune hosted the Coach Education Scholarship Program, which is part of the legacy programme of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022TM.
On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021, the Coach Education Scholarship Programme, a unique endeavour to educate and develop more female coaches at the grassroots, was launched with its first edition at the Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai with 21 participants.
The Pune iteration of the programme, which continued legacy activities for the forthcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022TM, saw an increase of 24 women from Maharashtra.
With cooperation from FIFA, the Government of Maharashtra, the Pune Sports Department and the Western India Football Association (WIFA), the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022TM aims to establish a pathway for aspiring coaches to become involved in the grassroots of women’s football and mentor young girls from the community who want to participate.
Eager to pursue a career in football, the 24 aspiring coaches undertook the E-Licence coaching course which imparted knowledge regarding the practical as well as the theoretical aspects of the game. This course aimed at furthering the growth of women’s football in the Indian sporting landscape.
The programme was inaugurated on the 3rd of October 2021 in the presence of Shri Om Prakash Bakoria, Commissioner, Directorate of Sports and Youth Services, Maharashtra, Bala Devi, ace Indian international footballer, and Ankush Arora, Project Director, LOC FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022™, amongst other dignitaries.
Shri Om Prakash Bakoria said, “It is imperative that our women benefit from a prestigious event such as the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and this program is helping provide an equal opportunity for women to hone their talent in football. With increased female coaches at the grassroots, we will have more female footballers in the country.”
Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary of the All India Football Federation added, “The Coach Education Scholarship Programme signifies a positive intent in creating a platform for equality as it will help women from the local community engage themselves in football and thus encourage many young girls to play the game, while also realising a different career opportunity in football. This will be beneficial for women’s football in the long run.”
Indian national team player, and football icon Bala Devi, an active attendee of the event said, “This coaching programme is an extremely important initiative for the future generations. All of you [the women being trained in this programme] hold the keys to nurture the stars of tomorrow. I wish all participants the very best for their futures as well as for the futures of those they will coach in the coming time,” said Bala Devi. Her presence in the programme was a huge boost of motivation for the participants and she was greeted with much joy and fandom.
The upcoming edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will be held in India between October 11 and October 28, 2022.