“AIFF should start a Women Professional League now” : Exclusive with Aditi Chauhan

Aditi Chauhan Indian Football Team Goalkeeper

Right now, the social media is buzzing with the news that Indian Women’s National Team Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan has joined West Ham United – thereby making her only the third Indian citizen to play for a British Club. Mohammed Salim played for Celtic long back in 1936 and Baichung Bhutia donned Bury FC colors from 1999 to 2002. Among this huge frenzy, we had the opportunity to catch up with the woman in limelight where she opened up about the prospect of Indian Womens’ Football and more.

Indian Women’s Team is now ranked 56th in FIFA World Ranking, much better than it’s men counterpart. But, why no ISL for women? – we intended to find the answer. What came out was a sad reality. “It is sad that no developments have been made about starting a league in India”, she expressed with disappointment.

We learnt from her that the womens’ team even do not have regular matches to play through out the year. “In this adverse situation, how do you expect womens’ football to develop?”, she threw an open question to the authority. Moreover, she pointed out that despite making promises last year, AIFF is still reluctant to do any professional league for women.

The SAFF 2012 championship winner hopes that this news of her joining a big club like West Ham will create sparks around India so that the authorities will take quick actions to start a league for women. She also dreams to play in a League in front of her home crowd someday.

Regarding life in England, Aditi Chauhan uttered the most important word : “Motivation”. According to her, even though the English league is semi-professional, the career path of a player is well-structured. “Everybody has a motivation to work hard and improve as a player to play at a better league as there are many divisions involved in the League structure”, she added.

West Ham Ladies currently feature in the Football Association’s (FA) Women’s Premier League Southern Division, a league in the third level in the women’s football structure in England.

At the start of this year, Gurpreet joined a top-tier Norwegian League club. Does this mean that the chances for an Indian footballer to play in European Leagues are becoming easier? She doesn’t think so but is happy with the co-incidence that goalkeepers from India are doing well internationally.

The hammers recently suffered a 5-0 defeat to Coventry where she made her first official appearance for the club. That was not a dream debut for her but she thinks that the team will bounce back strongly in future and she will try to make her mark as a regular for the first team.

Before joining West Ham, she was playing for Loughborough University where she did her masters in Sports Management.

Aditi Chauhan does not have any particular favourite club but she likes watching Barcelona. She also reveals that Manuel Neuer is her favourite player at this moment.

But the most important message the Indian Female custodian wants to convey through this conversation is to plead AIFF to start a Female Professional League in India so that young talented girls get the opportunity and motivation to pursue a career in football.


Read a similar interview with K C Cariappa here.

Photo shared by Aditi Chauhan via FB