Kathmandu, April 29
Nepali women footballers Sabitra Bhandari and Anita Basnet today left for India to play in Indian Women’s League from Sethu Football Club.
Nepal national team striker Bhandari and midfielder Basnet became the first women footballer from the Himalayan nation to get contracted in professional league. The duo impressed the Indian team officials with their performance in the Hero Gold Cup held in Guwahati and Women’s SAFF Championship played in Biratnagar. Nepal had defeated heavyweights India and Iran in the league round on their way to making it to the final of the Hero Gold Cup in February before losing to Myanmar in the championship match. In the SAFF Championship final in March, Nepal faced a 3-1 defeat at the hands of India.
Bhandari has been the key member of the Nepal national team since making her debut in 2014. She has scored 28 goals in 30 matches and is regarded as one of the best strikers of the South Asian region. Likewise, midfielder Basnet also put up impressive performances in both the tournaments. She scored her first international goal against Sri Lanka during the semi-final match against Sri Lanka in Biratnagar. Basnet, who made her national team debut in 2018, has earned 10 caps so far.
The Indian Women’s League is scheduled to kick off on May 5 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, Punjab.
The tournament features 14 teams and they are divided into two groups. After the round robin league, top two sides from both the groups will make it to the semi-finals.
Rising Student’s Club, Gokulam Kerala FC, FC Alakhpura, Hans Women’s FC, Central SSB Women’s Football Team, Panjim Footballers and Tripura Sports School are in Group A, while Sethu FC are in Group B along with Manipur Police Sports Club, Bangalore United FC, CRPF Women’s Football Team, SAI-STC Cuttack, FC Kolhapur City and Baroda Football Academy.
A version of this article appears in print on April 30, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.