KOLHAPUR: For the players, it was a 90-minute match. But for the 20,000 odd spectators, it was a 150-minute celebration of Women’s football here at the Chhatrapati Shahu Stadium in Kolhapur on Thursday (January 17).
The stadium was packed half an hour before kickoff and remained such for the next 30-minutes after the match. The vociferous crowd echoed only one sentiment while cheering “India India..” throughout the length of the International Friendly between The Indian Women Team and their Dutch counterparts; that women’s football is here to stay.
“I can’t control my emotions. This is amazing. I have never felt so proud playing football. I bow down to the crowd’s unparalleled support,” Aditi Chauhan, goalkeeper of the Indian Team quipped. Her eyes were watery, and so were few of her teammates’.
The visitors were bathing in the euphoria of the moment. All of them had their cameras out, as they surely did not want to miss out on a moment like this.
“This is the first time in my life that I am witnessing such frenzy for women’s football. Even in Europe where football for women is respected and well sought after, this madness is never seen. This is crazy, I’m loving it…so much to tell when I return home..” an animated Myrusha Victoria, full back of the Dutch side who was also adjudged the Man of the Match, confessed.
Coming to the match, which surely took the backseat amidst such unbridled frenzy, the Indian Women failed to get the better of their Dutch counterparts, losing 2-0, but the SAFF Cup Champions can be proud of the fact that gave a good account of themselves against the 14th ranked outfit in the FIFA Women’s Rankings.
Annebel ten Broeke and Sylvana Tieleman scored in each half to notch up the win for their side. While Broeke prodded home off Jolien van der Jeest’s cross from the right flank, Sylvana had to just tap in after Yentl Abbing set her up beautifully with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Barring the two occasions which determined the outcome of the tie, Anandi Barua’s girls were the more convincing of the two sides for the better part of the match. A fact that is nothing short of incredible!
The hosts proved their mettle by dominating the midfield against the European heavyweights. The likes of Subhaprava Rout and Swati Rawat stringed together some delightful passes with the two women up front. But the Indian strikers – Prameshwari Devi and Rinaroy Devi — could not get the better of the tall Dutch backline, a point their Coach Barua had made earlier.
The Oranjes played a high line from the outset, forcing the hosts to drop deep. But the Indians adjusted well, attacking on the counter and concentrating on ball possession in the middle of the park.
The searing heat and sultry conditions made life difficult for the Dutch, resulting in frequent intervals in the opening exchanges.
Post the breather, India looked more enterprising in the final third. They seemed to have worked up a plan to get past their tall markers.
“We played well, I would say 75% of what we are capable of. In football, you have to score goals to win. We missed a couple of sitters today, but overall I’m happy that we played so well against the mighty Dutch. I am sure the girls will learn a lot from their little mistakes up front and give their best in the next game in Navi Mumbai,” Coach Barua said after the match.
The Netherlands Women 2 (Annebel ten Broeke – 2nd, Sylvana Tieleman – 76th)
India Women 0
The next Friendly is on Sunday (December 20) in Navi Mumbai.Published 17 Jan 2013, 20:40 IST