City anchor: Hindustan FC launches women’s football team

As a passionate enthusiast of football, Neha Kapoor, often went to watch local league games in Delhi as a youngster. "I would think to myself that one day even I would be playing for a top flight club," says Kapoor. But while her devotion to the game would eventually lead her to the India U-19 team five years ago, Kapoor found that there weren't too many takers for women's club football in Delhi. While women's teams do compete in Delhi, they are mostly seen as a curiosity. Most are not affiliated with the DSA and training and selections in the ones that are affiliated take part in a haphazard manner.

So it was with some elation that Kapoor donned the green and black colours of Hindustan FC football club at the launch of the club's women's wing on Wednesday. Hindustan FC is now the only I League playing club to have a women's team. "I have been playing football for many years and this was something special. The greatest feeling was just to get the uniform. It means that you are an official part of something big," said Kapoor who was named captain of the team. Adds teammate Kuhelika Guha - who is running a signature campaign to introduce an all-India women's league - "it was a great feeling that we were given the same importance as the men squad. I hope the practice is followed across the country."

The professional nature of the setup was noticed right from the selection process itself. "While most of the girls have played for local clubs before, selection was on a word-of-mouth basis. We would have to pick whoever showed up. With Hindustan FC, we had to go for trials and the team was whittled down to the final squad," says Kapoor, a student of Jesus & Mary's college. Indeed unlike at other teams where practice would begin a couple of weeks before the start of a tournament, the Hindustan FC team has already begun practice well before the Delhi State Club tournament, scheduled for January next year.

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