Western United’s Liberty A-League coach Mark Torcaso hailed the huge potential of Indian women’s football, after a week-long training camp in Kolkata.
Torcaso, the A-League Women’s coach of the year, was part of the international coaching cohort leading the Women In Sports Elite Trails, featuring 29 of India’s top female players.
The coaches also ran a hugely successful grassroots clinic for 33 kids aged 6-14, with acting Australian Consulate-General to Kolkata Kevin Goh also attending, and distributing footballs and Matildas jerseys to local players.
Torcaso, who is also technical director of NPLW club Calder United, was impressed with the talent and application of the Indian talent, which ranged from ages 15 to 33.
“It was a fantastic week in Kolkata and it was wonderful to see the local Indian talent on display and we enjoyed our football and cultural experience,” Torcaso said.
“There is great potential there and we had some positive conversations about how we can help lift the standard of women’s football in India.
“We discussed the possibility of some players coming to Australia, so we will explore those opportunities in the NPLW (Calder United) or A-League Women’s.
“It was fantastic to represent Western United Football Club, after our inaugural Liberty A-League season.”
Fellow Liberty A-League coach, Adelaide United’s Adrian Stenta, and NPLW coach Peter Rakic (Perth SC) also joined Torcaso, along with international coaches from Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and Marbella (Spain).
“The camp was a resounding success. In total 29 girls enjoyed the camp and so did we thanks to the commitment from our Australian coaches,” said Kolkata-based organiser Anuj Kichlu.
“We hope that this will open up the door for a number of these players to trial and potentially sign contracts in places around the world, including Australia, with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of women’s football in India. We are confident plenty of female players will now be able to avail this opportunity and practice and play football 8-10 months a year.
“It was exciting to hear about the progress of women’s football in Australia, just weeks out from the 2023 FIFA World Cup
“We spoke about a number of potential projects and collaborations moving forward and I also believe that government tie ups at all levels are possible as it is beneficial to both countries as well as to the sport itself.”
The Women In Sports camp was organised by the AMPL Foundation, and the Football Players’ Association of India.