Voices Tuesday, July 08, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute| July 8, 2014| 06:35 pm IST Two days ago Zee News reported that the India National Women’s Football Team is good enough to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Now compare the titles of their male counterparts. It is the India National Football Team, and FIFA World Cup. Both in India, and internationally as well, the default players of football are men. The women’s teams, must be qualified as “women’s football”. Sport has predominantly been a men’s thing, no matter how much women may be interested in pursuing it or even following it. The official titles of the national teams in India, and FIFA’s official titles both indicate that this bias has not changed. It is a well-publicized fact that the Indian men’s team last qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 1950 and is currently ranked at 154 by FIFA out of 200 teams. But it a little known fact that our women’s team stands at 50 out of 125 teams on the FIFA rankings, which makes this team, definitely more qualified that the men’s team. Yet, the Indian media has given their achievement little coverage. The women’s team won the 2012 Olympics qualifying opener, it is currently holds the South Asian Football Federation’s Cup ( which it won in 2012) and is gearing up for the Incheon Asian Games. Yet, except an interview here and an interview there, there is little on the achievements of the National Women’s Team. A girls team from Jharkhand, has qualified for the Schwan USA Cup - an important international youth soccer tournament, which is set to begin on July 11. The YUWA Foundation’s team of 18 tribal girls has been coached by American coach Franz Gastler and has also clinched a bronze at the recent Gasteiz Cup held in Spain. A Hindustan Times report also mentioned that Gastler was getting offers to set up football academies from across the country. When the country’s girls do have such talent, why is the right kind of support not being given to hone their skills? Women’s sports requires more than the reportage on Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom achievements. It requires consistent reporting, not just because the women sportspersons deserve it, but also because we, as the media need to be more inclusive and sensitive in our coverage.

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