‘A great opportunity for Gokulam’

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Barely a month after the women of Gokulam Kerala were given a warm reception in front of a big crowd at the Corporation Stadium here last year, India went into a lockdown. A year on, they have a strong reason to be cheerful again: they would be playing at the AFC Women’s Club Championship.

It will be held in Jordan in November. Gokulam is the first club from an India to take part in the tournament.

It may be four months away, but Gokulam’s coach, P.V. Priya is already looking forward to it. “This is a huge opportunity for the girls,” she said on Saturday.

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“Yes, the COVID-19 lockdown has hampered our training, but I hope we would be able to get back on the field in September. I think the players will be ready for the tournament with a two-month camp.”

She said Gokulam was drawn in a tough group. “All our rivals, Amman Club (Jordan), Shahrdari Sirjan (Iran) and FC Bunyodkar (Uzbekistan) are strong. But we will give our best,” said Priya.

She hopes Gokulam would be able to field most of the players that made the team the Indian Women’s League champion last year. “We could also look at some foreign recruits as five of them are allowed in a team,” she said.

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Gokulam’s matches: Nov. 7: vs. Amman Club; Nov. 9: vs. Shahrdari Sirjan,; Nov. 12: vs. FC Bunyodkur.

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