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Odisha FC announced the launch of their senior women’s team in July last year, on the holy occasion of ‘Rath Yatra’, an auspicious day for all Odias. The ISL club from Odisha released a video to mark their entry into the women’s game and at the same time revealed their key aim is to ensure an entry in the Indian Women’s League (IWL) this year as the champion in the state women’s league.
In a bid to fulfill its aim, Odisha FC had first constructed a strong administrative team roping in former General Manager of North East United FC, Randeep Baruah, to structure the women’s football department. Randeep, who is currently the Head of Academy & Women’s Football at OFC, was working behind the scenes in the build-up of the women’s team for months.
Then under the leadership of Randeep, the team roped in an experienced and A-licensed coach Crispin Chettri. He had a successful season as the Head Coach of Sethu FC, ending his stint at the Madurai-based club as Runner-up in the recently concluded Indian Women’s League (IWL).
In a bid to make the team stronger, Odisha FC has made a perfect blend of youth and experience in the team. Among them, the biggest surprise is probably the signing of Brazilian defender Cynthia Marcondes Dos Santos, the first-ever Brazilian footballer to be seen in action in Indian women’s football. Along with Cynthia, Odisha FC has roped in Ghanaian striker Faustina Akpo who has experience representing the country in the under-20 category. Along with these two quality foreign footballers, top Indian stars like Bala Devi, Pyari Xaxa, and Grace Lalrampuri have been signed.
The presence of Cynthia’s
Randeep Baruah said,
“The 26-year-old Cynthia who has played in Sao Paulo and domestic competitions in Brazil has already been popular in the team’s training. Her skill, passing ability, power, and approach to the game are inspiring the local girls a lot. We are lucky to have these two quality foreigners. Our key motive is to cement the identity in the IWL and then nurture potential young Odisha girls in the near future through our academy for the women exclusively in the near future.”
In a bid to strengthen the preparation, Odisha FC has tendered scientific training also to their women’s team. The club made an association with Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance (ABTP) Center where the women footballers had fitness training. Randeep revealed the girls were also nurtured through the classes on psychology and they also attended nutrition classes regularly.