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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The ascendancy of the Indian women’s football team was on display during the recent exposure tour of Brazil, said the legend of Indian football IM Vijayan who believes that adding tough competition among the players will further help in the growth of the game in the country.

Vijayan’s remark came on the sidelines of the Senior Women’s National Football Championship at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode where Manipur clinched their 21st title after scraping past Railways 2-1 on penalties on Friday.

Earlier, Odisha were beaten by their nemesis Manipur in the second semifinal in a penalty-shootout.

India had recently locked horns against Brazil, Chile and Venezuela in a four-nation tournament as part of its preparation for the AFC Asian Cup to be held in India at Mumbai and Pune from January 20 to February 6.

 India eves lost all their three matches but the highlight of the tour was the one-goal that they scored against the mighty Brazil, who are the 2007 World Cup runners-up.

“The way our players played against Brazil was really impressive. We scored a goal against the top team globally which shows that women’s football in India is rising,” the 52-year-old Vijayan, a former India men’s team captain, said to AIFF.

“Our team has improved a lot and AIFF is also trying hard to give them the much needed exposures,” he added.

 “India is hosting the Asian Cup next year and everyone is trying hard to build the team and play quality football. I am very happy to see that everyone is contributing to the growth of women’s football to take Indian football forward,” India international M Suresh opined.

 “Indian women’s team is in a good phase now. The way they performed against the top teams was a treat to watch,” he added.

The two Indian footballers were present at the stands to support the girls on the final day of the Senior Women’s National Football Championship. Defending champions Manipur claimed their 21st title after a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Railways in the summit clash on Thursday.

 “I am so happy to see all the 32 teams with so many young talents. I have come here for the first time to watch the girls play and I really enjoyed the brand of football they showed,” said Vijayan.

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