ISLAMABAD: India clinched the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Women’s Championship, outclassing Nepal 6-0 at the Jinnah Stadium here on Friday.
India convincingly managed to retrain supremacy of women football in the region.
It was India’s third consecutive victory in the SAFF women finals against Nepal. These two teams played all the three finals of the championship since its inception in 2010.
During the first 20 minutes, Indian strikers made several attempts but Nepal’s defenders managed to foil them.
However, in 25th minute, Yumnam Kamala Devi scored the first goal from the left side of the goal post, opening the door to the ‘flood’ of goals.
In the 39 minute, striker Bala Devi doubled the lead by heading a pass into the nets.
Two minutes later, she scored another goal, putting her team at a supreme position with 3-0 difference in the first half.
India enjoyed huge support of local crowd as spectators, including school children, cheered the Indian team by shouting slogans in their favour.
In the first half, Nepal missed two goal-scoring opportunities as their strikers could not make good finishes.
The change of end could not bring any change for Nepal as Indian strikers continued their dominance. Irom Prameshwori Devi scored a goal in the 47 minute.
Now, once again it was Bala Devi’s turn, who scored back-to-back goals in 51st minute and 90th minute, finishing the match 6-0.
|ISLAMABAD Indian and Nepal players fight for the ball during the SAFF Women’s Championship final here at the Jinnah Stadium on Friday.—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star|
She scored four goals in this match and overall 16 in the tournament. It is relevant to note here that during her Interview with Dawn a few days back, Bala had said she wanted to score 16 goals in the tournament.
She achieved her target of scoring 16 goals. “I’m so happy. It’s a great honour for me as I have scored 16 goals in the tournament,” Bala told Dawn after the final.
“Love,” Bala replied simply when reporters asked her what memories her team was taking back home.
Later on, while talking to the media Bala Davi, captain Oinam Bembem Davi and head coach Tarun Roy appreciated Pakistan for successfully holding the eight-nation event and providing best facilities to the visiting teams.
“We enjoyed and shopped in markets here. We played in good atmosphere,” said Tarun Roy.
When asked if he will advise the Indian cricket team to visit Pakistan as this country is safe for sports, he said: “I think all international teams must have received the message from this tournament that Pakistan is a safe country. I hope more and more teams will come to Pakistan in future.”
Indian captain, Oinam Bembem, 34, who announced retirement form the SAFF championships, said: “I’m too happy over our third consecutive victory in the SAFF championship,” she said.
Talking about Pakistan team’s performance, she said though Pakistan could not qualify for semi-finals, they played well.
“The inexperienced Pakistan team has shown good performance,” she said.
Speaking to Dawn, Nepal’s captain Anu Lama said her team’s defensive approach led to defeat.
“The Indians played better than us. We kept our focus on defence, which was our mistake. We should have tried to score goals to put pressure on the Indians,” she said.
Asian Football Federation president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa was the chief guest at the closing ceremony.
While, Federal Minister for IPC Riaz Hussain Pirzada, SAFF president Kazi Salahuddin, AFC vice-president Prince Abdullah, PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat, AFC general secretary Datu Alex Soosey and Football Association of Thailand president Warovi Makudi also graced the occasion and distributed trophies and medals among the winners and runners-up.
Published in Dawn, November 22th, 2014