India international goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan believes the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup to be held in India next year will help to unearth gems in Indian football.
The 27-year-old footballer, in an Instagram live conversation with the India Football team handle on Friday, said that the coverage that the global event is expected to receive will help the state of women's football in the country. India is also set to host the AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2023, a continental competition that Aditi and her teammates are looking forward to.
"Everyone is excited and looking forward to (the Asian Cup). It is a great platform for all of us. With the U-17 World Cup, its exposure will help us get good players as well - so the World Cup works as a dual advantage to us, now that we are hosting the Asian Cup also.
"The U-17 Women's World Cup is a great opportunity. It will have a huge impact. We need the parents to be more aware of what they (their kids) can achieve with sports. Because of the media's huge investment in covering the World Cup, more supporters will be exposed to the idea that women can play football," she said.
The India national women's team was fresh off a fifth consecutive SAFF Championship success after defeating Nepal in the final that took place in December 2019 and Aditi believes match practice has helped the team improve. She also praised the diversity and the pan-India attribute of the current India squad.
"Playing a lot of games has made a huge difference. We have done well and have improved against the better teams. Our understanding of the opposition has gotten better. The international tournaments that we have been playing have given us a lot of confidence. Something that you learn from a match cannot be learnt from training.
"I think in diversity is one of the most important factors of the team. When I started, there was a lot of Manipuri players. There a lot of different characters, it ultimately helps you learn. Our team is very diverse, there is unity in that diversity. The national team brings us together. Manipuri still makes the major part of our team, they have started to feel the competition from other players, that is what is pushing each player. No one is taking anything for granted."
The goalkeeper's last stint at the club-level was with Gokulam Kerala and the team won the Indian Women's League that was held in Bengaluru. A victory celebration was organised by the Kozhikode-based club for the women's team upon their return from Bengaluru and it was a gesture from the club that deserves praise, according to the player,
"The victory celebration was like a dream. It was amazing. I never imagined that something like that will be arranged for a women's team. Hats off to Gokulam Kerala. That is what the players wanted. To be able to share that triumph with the fans is an honour. That gives you extra motivation and you feel more connected to the club."