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Anthony Andrews, who guided Gokulam Kerala to back-to-back IWL titles, recommended as national women’s football coach

Anthony Andrews, who guided Gokulam Kerala FC to back-to-back Indian Women’s League (IWL) titles in the last two seasons, was on Thursday recommended by the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) technical committee to take over as head coach of the national women’s team.

Andrews is among the youngest coaches in India to have an AFC ‘A’ License. Under his guidance Gokulam Kerala won the IWL titles in 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons.

The AIFF’s technical committee headed by the legendary IM Vijayan met virtually and recommended Andrews for the post of Indian women’s team’s coach, which was lying vacant since the departure of Thomas Dennerby.

“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 coveted post,” the AIFF said in a release.

Andrews will be a familiar face for many players in the national team set-up as the likes of captain Ashalata Devi, Grace Dangmei, Ranjana Chanu, Indumathi Kathiresan and Sandhiya Ranganathan were part of Gokulam under him.

The senior national women’s team, ranked 60th in the world, will be playing the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 from October 26 to November 1, where it has been clubbed with Japan, Vietnam and Uzbekistan.

India are scheduled to play Japan on October 26, Vietnam on October 29 and Uzbekistan on November 1.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the third round from where the first two teams will make the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The committee also recommended former Mohun Bagan and East Bengal player Ishfaq Ahmed as the head coach of the national U-16 men’s team.

“Ishfaq Ahmed was unanimously recommended for the appointment of the head coach of U-16 men’s national team. The committee also recommended that Rajan Mani and Feroz Sharif be appointed assistant coach and goalkeeper coach, respectively, at the U-16 national team.” Other technical committee members Pinky Bompal Magar, Climax Lawrence, Arun Malhotra, Harjinder Singh and Eugeneson Lyngdoh, as well as AIFF’s technical director Shabir Pasha, were present in the meeting.

“This is a new beginning for the India senior women’s and U-16 national teams, and I am sure they will be in able hands, and the coaches we have recommended will do a fine job in taking their respective teams forward,” Vijayan said in the release.

“The senior women will be playing the all-important AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 from October 26 to November 1, while the U-16s have an assignment in hand in the SAFF U-16 Championship to be played in Bhutan from September 1 to 11. I am sure the teams will perform to the level which will make us feel proud.”

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