Women’s football in Himachal Pradesh got a much-needed boost earlier this month when the inaugural Himachal Women’s League was kicked off. Four teams participated in the first edition of the HWL, namely Techtro Swades United, Northern Football Academy, Khad FC and Manas FC.
Himachal got its first taste of success in women’s football back in 2019. The mountain state was crowned the champions of Junior Girl’s National Football Championship after beating Jharkhand 3-1 in the final. However, a proper league structure was missing in the state. The introduction of the Himachal Women’s League seemed to be a step in the right direction.
The league saw all four teams face each other twice, with the table toppers to be adjudged champions. After completing the penultimate matchday, Techtro Swades United solidified their place at the top of the table with a three-point lead and a goal difference of +18. They won the inaugural HWL after securing a draw in their last match, remaining unbeaten throughout the tournament.
“When we started our Men's team, we always had the vision of forming a women's team too. It gives us immense pleasure to win the league comfortably in our first attempt,” quoted Neeraj Kholiya, founder of the club.
The Men’s team came agonizingly close to winning the Men’s equivalent of the league earlier this year, ultimately finishing as runners-up. The girls, though, were ruthless. They scored 21 goals, conceding just 3 in 6 matches. Captain Neha Mann was influential for the team, having 6 assists in 6 matches. It was Anjali, though, the team’s striker, who scored the most goals in the league with an impressive tally of 8.
"This is just the beginning for Techtro Swades United," says the team manager Lavitesh Poojari. “Our next target is the IWL play-offs in Delhi. I’m proud of this team and very confident about what happens next.”
A lot of state football associations have been conducting their women’s league in recent times. With Himachal Pradesh kicking off women’s football in the state, the future for young budding footballers from the hilly state is bright.