Bengaluru: The fourth edition of the Hero Indian Women’s league gets underway at the Bangalore Football Stadium from January 24.
The 21-day long tournament will culminate with the finals on February 14. The first-ever rolling trophy for the Hero Indian Women’s league was unveiled in a glittering ceremony in the city on Thursday.
Captains of the team representing all the 12 teams from 10 states were present along with Sunando Dhar, CEO, League, AIFF, Satya Narayan, General Secretary, KSFA and Maymol Rocky, Head Coach, Indian women’s National team.
Kryphsa FC and Kickstart FC will lock horns in the first match on Friday. 12 teams vying for the top honours in the Hero Indian Women’s League have been divided into two groups of six teams each viz; Group A & Group B.
Group A would consist of Kickstart FC (Karnataka), FC Kolhapur (Maharashtra), Krypsha FC (Manipur), BBK DAV FC (Punjab), Sethu FC (Tamil Nadu) and Baroda FA ( Gujarat) while Group B shall comprise of Kenkre FC (Maharashtra), Gokulam Kerala FC (Kerala), Odisha Police FC (Odisha), Bangalore United FC (Karnataka), Sreebhumi FC (West Bengal), Bidesh XI FC (Goa). Two
games will be played on a day at 12 pm and 3 pm and would be streamed LIVE & Exclusive on the INDIAN FOOTBALL facebook page.
Each team would play a total of 5 matches in the round-robin league and the top two teams from each group will make their way to the semi-finals. The Semi-final winners thereafter would play the finals on the 14th February 2020, which shall kick-off from 2 PM onwards.
The total prize money is Rs 20 lakh. The champions shall walk away with the rolling trophy and medals along with a cash prize of Rs 10 Lakhs, while the runners-up will get richer by Rs 5 lakh. The tournament MVP ( Most Valuable Player) would earn Rs 1.25 Lakhs, the best goalkeeper would get Rs 1 lakh and the emerging player winner would earn Rs 75000 from the tournament. The hero of the Match for each game would earn an additional Rs 5000.
This will also be the first time when a rolling trophy would be instituted for the Hero Indian Women’s League. Elaborating further, Sunando Dhar, CEO, Leagues from AIFF said, "A rolling trophy is something which always augurs well with players and the contest gets intense amongst them. To align the premier women's league competition in India with other leagues, we have decided to shift to a running trophy this season and it'll surely push the girls further to give an extra bit on the field to lift it on 14th February."
The garden city of Bengaluru becomes the fourth city to host the Hero Indian Women’s League after the previous three editions were held at New Delhi (2016-17), Shillong (2017-18) and Ludhiana (2018-19). Eastern Sporting Union from Manipur emerged as the champions of inaugural edition before Rising Student’s Club from Odisha beat them in the final the following season (2017-18). In 2018-19, Sethu FC, the Tamil Nadu outfit, outplayed Manipur Police in the final to win their maiden Hero IWL crown.
Speaking about the growth of Indian women’s football and how the Hero Indian Women’s League has grown year after year, Maymol Rocky, Head Coach, Indian women’s National team, said, "Indian women’s football is on an upward swing and I would like to thank the AIFF for all its efforts in helping the growth of women’s football in India. With global tournaments like the U17 FIFA Women’s World Cup scheduled to be played later this year in India, I am sure that we will get to see many more youngsters trying to make a career in football. The Hero IWL will be one of the key places for all of us to analyse talent and consider them for future roles with the national teams. The competition level in Hero IWL has risen by leaps and bounds over the last three years and we hope to see another intriguing season of Hero IWL here in Bengaluru. I wish all the teams best of luck for the upcoming tournament."