KOCHI: In what could be a watershed moment for women's football in India, Gokulam Kerala FC will take part in the AFC Women's Club Championship which gets underway on Sunday.
The competition is considered to be the marquee event when it comes to women's football in Asia and India's representatives would take on Amman Club from Jordan.
Gokulam will represent India courtesy of being the defending champions of the 2019-20 Indian Women's League edition.
They will be competing alongside three other teams, with Jordan's Amman SC, Iran's Shahrdari Sirjan and Uzbekistan's FC Bunyodkor being the other contenders.
Gokulam has put together a strong team with a clutch of foreign signings and many Indian internationals.
Gokulam Kerala FC has recruited two strikers – Elshaddai Acheampong from Ghana, and Karen Stefanny Paez from Colombia. Myanmar winger/forward Win Theingi Tun will also represent Gokulam along with Puerto Rican midfielder Adriana Tirado and Ghana defender Susan Ama Duah.
The team is also bolstered with Indian players Dangmei Grace, Aditi Chauhan, Dalima Chhibber, Manisha Kalyan, Ranjana Chanu and Soumya.
This is the first time an Indian women's team is participating on such a big stage.
“In India, women’s football is growing exponentially. If we can win the championship, this will be a huge boost for our women footballers in the country. We have a good, strong squad and we aim for nothing short of the title,” said Priya PV, the head coach of Gokulam Kerala FC.
Priya who is also the assistant coach of the Indian team was the one who guided Gokulam to the IWL title and knows many of the players well.
Amman SC would provide a strong challenge and their coach sounded confident ahead of the tie.
“We have no idea about the playing style of the Indian team. So we will stick on to our style of play and being the hosts, our players will put all efforts to win the first match and start the campaign in style,” said Amman Sc head coach Khalid Nimar.