Shillong, Mar 12: Meghalaya won’t participate in this season’s Senior Women’s National Football Championship, which is set to begin later this month.
There are 31 teams (26 states and five Union territories) that are taking part in the preliminary round, which will be held at venues in six different states from 25th March.
Eleven of these teams will progress to the final round, which will also include Railways, who have received direct entry.
Apart from Meghalaya the only other state not taking part is Nagaland.
Meghalaya didn’t have a great 2021-22 Women’s NFC, losing two matches and only winning one against Pondicherry.
While their male counterparts narrowly missed out on the Senior Men’s NFC title earlier this month, the Meghalaya women’s team have not been able to keep up, arguably due to a lack of investment rather than talent.
Many Meghalaya female footballers have had plenty of success playing for clubs outside the state, like in Maharashtra and Goa, Kerala and Delhi. But Meghalaya still doesn’t have a state league of its own for women (though the idea has been mooted) which means that no local club has ever featured in the Indian Women’s League.
Coming back to the Women’s NFC, Manipur are the defending champions after having defeated Railways in the final last season 2-1 on penalties. Manipur have won the title an extraordinary 21 times, including all of the three most recent editions.
Senior Women’s NFC (Preliminary stage):
Group 1 – Punjab, Telangana, Sikkim, Haryana
Group 2 – Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mizoram
Group 3 – Goa, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha
Group 4 – Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh
Group 5 – Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh
Group 6 – Karnataka, Bihar, Manipur, Gujarat, Assam
(TSR representative photo)