NEW DELHI: Many people turned up at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, on Friday to greet the India U19 Women’s Team that returned as the joint champions of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U19 Women’s Championship.
As the team came out of the arrivals gate, they were garlanded and offered sweets by senior federation officials. A group of enthusiasts broke the mundane humdrum of the airport with the fervent beats of their drums, while breaking into the bhangra dance to celebrate the team’s success, as per an All India Football Federation (AIFF) press release.
Earlier in the week, the final of the championship between India and hosts Bangladesh had ended 1-1, before it went into the penalty shootouts, where after each of the 22 players scored their respective penalties (11-11), it was mutually decided that the champions’ title would be shared between the two sides.
The AIFF’s Acting Secretary General M Satyanarayan, was amongst those present at the airport to greet the team. After the team’s arrival, Satyanarayan told the players, “I, on behalf of the President (Kalyan Chaubey), the Vice President (NA Haris), and the Treasurer (Kipa Ajay), would like to convey our deepest gratitude to each one of you for winning the SAFF U-19 Championship in Bangladesh. We all keenly followed each one of your matches on the live stream. But it does not end here. You must do well in Asia too, as you are the future of women’s football in India. I would like to ask all of you to work hard and keep pushing forward.”
India U19 captain Nitu Linda said upon her arrival, “When I went to Bangladesh, I promised my family that I would come back with the trophy, and now I am happy to have fulfilled that promise. So many people have come to the airport to greet us today, this really gives us a boost to do well in the future, even at the senior level too. Our aim now is to make India champions at the senior level too.”
In the round-robin stage, India finished at the second spot in their group of four teams with wins over Bhutan and Nepal and a loss to Bangladesh. Along with the hosts Bangladesh, they qualified for the finals while Nepal and Bhutan could not. (ANI)