Gokulam Kerala and Sethu FC all set for showdown to decide IWL winners

A win on Thursday will also make Gokulam Kerala the only Indian club in history to win two successive national league titles by their men's and women's teams.
Image for representation
Image for representation

BHUBANESWAR: Gokulam Kerala would look to clinch their second successive Indian Women's League title when they lock horns with Sethu FC in a virtual final at the Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday.

A win on Thursday will also make Gokulam Kerala the only Indian club in history to win two successive national league titles by their men's and women's teams.

Gokulam Kerala will also become the only club in India to win both the I-League and IWL titles in the same season.

Earlier this month, Gokulam Kerala (men's team) won their second I-League title in a row, beating Mohammedan Sporting Club 2-1 in the final league game of the 2021-22 season.

Gokulam had won the IWL title in 2019-20 season while the tournament was cancelled in 2020-21 due to COVID-19 pandemic.

They had represented the country at the AFC Women's Club Championship last year and finished third.

Gokulam and Sethu have rubbed shoulders with each other throughout the season and are level on points.

Defending champions Gokulam Kerala have an edge at the top of the points table with a superior goal difference.

Thus, the game on Thursday will be a do-or-die clash for both the sides and promises to be an absolute thriller.

Crispin Chettri, head coach of Sethu FC, shed light on the season so far and their approach for the ultimate clash.

"This season has been very good for Hero IWL. Gokulam Kerala are an experienced side, but we too have experienced players in our team," Chettri said.

"We also have the advantage of youth; players who will be eager to go into this kind of a match. It's an opportunity for them to show their potential and character.

"This match is all about my players. They need to have the belief that they are the best. If they do that, I think they can bring home the trophy," he stated. Sethu FC captain Sandhiya Ranganathan said she is ready to inspire her side to victory on the final day.

"It's been a long journey and we are well-prepared and confident for the final game. We are ready to bring the trophy back home," said the captain of the Tamil Nadu-based side.

Sethu are a side that has a number of local players from Tamil Nadu in their side and their policy of promoting the players from the state has done wonders for women's football.

Gokulam Kerala head coach Anthony Andrews also opened up on his side's preparations for the final game of the season.

"It's an amazing feeling. The players are pumped up and everybody is looking forward to the match on the 26th. We are going to play the same way we've been playing in the last 10 games and stick to our plans."

Skipper Aditi Chauhan, who has been a wall in the Malabarians' goal throughout the season, also expressed her thoughts going into the game.

"It's been an incredible tournament. I'm glad that the title will be decided on the final day of the league, which is very exciting and the players are looking forward to it."

"Sethu are a good team with a good mix of local as well as national team players. It's going to be a tough job for us. We'll have to be at our 100 percent and go all out to win the league trophy this time," she added.

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The New Indian Express