–An initiative to popularize women’s football team in India-
8th December 2014: – CEQUIN (Center for Equity and inclusion) organised Delhi Dreams: Girls Football Tournament. The knock out matches for the tournament were held from 4th – 6th December 2014. The final match was played today between Modern School Vasant Vihar & Step by Step at Sanskriti School, Chanakyapuri on 8th December.
The main objective of this tournament was to popularize women’s football in India and to raise awareness about the fact that the Indian Women’s team is relatively well placed internationally. Their ranking was 49th, and dipped recently to 53rd position, nearly 100 points ahead as compared to the Indian men’s team. The Women’s team won the SAFF Championship for the third consecutive time in November, 2014, defeating Nepal 6-0.
In total 11 teams participated for the championship trophy and the top three teams were: -Step by Step winners of the tournament, Modern School Vasant Vihar the first runner up and Sanskriti School second runners up.. The organizers selected Pratibha from Sanskriti school and Aveka Singh from Step by Step as best two talents from the game and have offered them a training camp in England.
This tournament was the first of its kind ‘inclusive’ school girls tournament which experienced the coming together of female footballers from prominent Delhi schools as well as underprivileged girls from NGOs working in various pockets of Delhi slum areas. The entire tournament has been supported by Premier League and Aston Villa from Britain and Save the Dream, International Centre for Sports Security (ICSS), Qatar.
Highlighting the rationale of promoting Women’s football in India Sara Pilot (Chairperson CEQUIN and Chairperson of the Women’s Committee, AIFF) said, “this a great way of breaking stereotypes and making girls believe that nothing is impossible. As a team sport and an outdoor game, it instills confidence and leadership abilities. I dream of a day when young girls will come out in large numbers and play football in public grounds alongside the boys!”
The event was also graced by supportive presence of eminent personalities like Shalu Jindal (Kuchipudi Dancer), Kalyani Chawla, Representative of Dior in India, Sara Pilot ( Chairperson CEQUIN and Chairperson of the Women’s Committee, AIFF) Lora Prabhu (Director CEQUIN), Abha Sehgal, Principal of Sanskriti School, Ravinder Masih, Director Villa in the Community, Aston Villa Footbal Club, Corrine Mitchell, Senior Women’s Coach, Aston Villa Football Club, Jade Richards, Senior player at Aston Villa Women’s Team, Bahruz Balayev, Save the Dream, International Centre for Sports Security (ICSS)Qatar, Jyoti Burret, Senior Player, Indian National Women’s Team and others.
Ravinder Masih (Head of Aston Villa in the Community) said that AVFC is proud to be part of Delhi Dreams Girls tournament by CEQUIN NGO. Football as a game helps us to resolve various social issues, girls of Delhi get an opportunuty to familiarise themselves with the spirit of the game. This tournament got the girls a chance to dream and to be a footballer. It is feeling great to be present here today.
During the course of the tournament, special football clinics had been conducted by top coaches from Aston Villa, providing Delhi’s girl footballers an exposure to the elite global standard of football coaching. Workshops were held in Jamia for girls from underprivileged background as well as at Sanskriti School.
About | Aston Villa
Aston Villa Football Club also known as The Villa are a professional football club based in Witton, Birmingham, who play in the Premier League, the highest level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa were founder members of The Football League in 1888. They were also founder members of the Premier League in 1992, and have remained there ever since. The club were floated by the previous owner and chairman Doug Ellis, but in 2006 full control was acquired by American businessman Randy Lerner. Lerner announced on 12 May 2014 that he is selling the club.
About | CEQUIN
The Centre for Equity and Inclusion (CEQUIN) is a non-profit organisation working towards the empowerment of marginalised and excluded sections of the population. Its focus is on women in particular. The organisation was set up in 2008 by Sara Pilot and Lora Prabhu, who have worked extensively in the development sector for the empowerment of women. CEQUIN is an autonomous centre under the umbrella organisation of the Jai Jawan Jai Kissan Trust, which was founded by the noted parliamentarian and national leader, late Shri Rajesh Pilot in 1988.