KOCHI: Gokulam Kerala FC are looking to give a good account of themselves and the nation at the continental stage as they have been elected as India's representatives in the inaugural AFC Women's Club Championship by the All India Football Federation.
This decision was taken on Thursday after the AIFF decided to postpone this year's IWL (Indian Women's League) citing the prevalent Covid-19 situation and monsoons.
Gokulam had won the fourth edition of the IWL which was held in the 2019-20 season. The World Club Championship will be held between October 30 and November 14 and will see a participation of clubs from eight countries.
"Now it's a matter of assembling a good squad and getting ready for this Championship which will be a very good exposure for the girls. Hopefully, everything works out well and we are ready for this," said Gokulam president VC Praveen.
He also suggested that the club have always given due importance to women's football just like the men's team.
"As a club we have always tried to support women's football. To be India's representative in this continental tournament is a big responsibility for us. Hopefully playing in this competition and doing well will give a shot in the arm for women's football in India," he said.
As for the fifth edition of the IWL, the federation has not decided when they will host the competition.
"We would like to inform you that after having a discussion with the local organising committee (Odisha Sports), AIFF has decided to postpone the 5th edition of the Indian Women’s League (IWL) for a few months keeping in mind the monsoon, and an expected third wave of infections," AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said in a statement.
Meanwhile, even though Praveen was happy that Gokulam were going to be India's representatives, he felt that the postponement of the IWL will affect the players.
"When there are no games, it affects the players because in general, a women's league is held only for a little over a month or so. Since with the IWL not being held this year, we will have to assess the fitness of the players and make sure we have a competitive team," said Praveen.
Interestingly, with this nomination, they have become the first club from the country to gain entry to both the men's and women's continental championship. Gokulam men's team had gained entry to participate in AFC Cup by virtue of winning the I-league 2020-21 edition.