New Delhi: Indian senior women’s football team will face Iran in their opening match of the Hero Gold Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, beginning on February 9.
The four-nation tournament, the first such competition in India for the senior women’s team is being organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in association with Odisha government.
Along with India and Iran, the tournament will also feature Myanmar and Nepal.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said the primary objective of the tournament is to provide the best of exposure to the women’s team as they prepare for the second round of the Olympic Qualifiers in April.
“The Hero Gold Cup is meant to provide additional opportunity for the Indian Women’s National Team to face other powerful teams in a competitive format,” Das said.
“While our team has been playing in Friendlies overseas, we feel hosting such a competition will boost the growing popularity of girls’ football in India. Football followers in India deserve a chance to witness our national teams in action. I need to thank the Government of Odisha and the SAI for their help,” he added.
Myanmar are ranked 44 in the FIFA Women’s Ranking, followed by Iran on 60, and Nepal on 108, while India are on 62.
Last year in November, India qualified for the second round of the AFC Olympic Qualifiers for the first time. As part of the optimal development and preparation of the squad, the team has already kicked off a campaign involving a series of two each friendly matches against Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Following is the schedule:
February 9: Myanmar vs Nepal; India vs Iran
February 11: Myanmar vs Iran; India vs Nepal
February 13: Iran vs Nepal; India vs Myanmar
February 15: Final
“It was a pleasure that AIFF came forward with the proposal for the Women’s Gold Cup. Odisha’s commitment towards sports, and especially promotion of women’s football is well-known. Having hosted a successful Hockey World Cup, the Kalinga Stadium stands ready to welcome the women’s teams for the 4-nation Gold Cup,” Sports Commissioner-cum-Secretary of Odisha government Vishal Kumar Dev said.