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AIFF appoints Anthony Andrews as India women’s national football team head coach

July 13, 2023

After three months without a head coach for the India women’s national football team, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has announced Anthony Andrews as the team’s new head coach ahead of the 2023 Asian Games and the second round of the 2024 Paris Olympic Qualifiers. 

Former head coach Thomas Dennerby’s contract expired on March 31 earlier this year, though the Swede stuck around to see his team brush aside Kyrgyzstan 5-0 and 4-0 over two legs, securing qualification for the second round of the 2024 Paris Olympic Qualifiers.

Following these impressive showings, the women’s national team have been inactive for the last three months. The AIFF failed to utilise the FIFA international friendlies window between 10–18 July, with the Asian Games and the second round of the Olympic qualifiers set to take place in September and October, respectively.

Not appointing a head coach for one of your senior national teams in all this time is quite appalling and unacceptable from a governing body that launched its “Vision 2047” programme just six months ago, which talked of increased focus on women’s football and its goal to establish a four-tier pyramid by 2026. 

If we take a look at how our competitors are preparing for the upcoming events, we can see that teams like Nepal and Bhutan are squaring off against each other during this international break, while the likes of Japan, China and South Korea, all of whom have qualified for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, are also in action to give their players crucial minutes before the big tournament. 

If we isolate the last two-year cycle to compare the number of games each of these above-mentioned countries have played, there aren’t any anomalies to catch your attention. But when you put context into it, the road ahead looks bleak again.

CountriesMatches Played CompetitiveFriendlies
India1569
Nepal1477
Bangladesh1358
China1697
Japan211110
South Korea1695

The Indian domestic women’s club football season is all but over with the conclusion of the Senior Women’s National Football Championship earlier in June. The season only kicked off with the National Championship on March 25, followed by the Indian Women’s League in between the two group stages. 

As far as the head coach scenario is concerned, the appointment of the two-time reigning IWL-winning head coach comes after an executive committee headed by IM Vijayan recommended Andrews for the post. 

The statement released by the AIFF on the matter states: 

The committee, after having a long discussion on appointing the head coach of the senior women’s national team, decided to recommend Anthony Andrews for the post.” 

It’ll be interesting to see whether Andrews will have enough time to implement his ideas and philosophy with the team ahead of a highly-anticipated run in two continental events.

Rahul Saha

An engineer taking the road less taken. I love writing, live and breathe football, and am always up for a tactical conversation.

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