MUMBAI: The Western India Football Association (WIFA) has always played a distinct role in the promotion and development of football. The efforts of WIFA, which is the governing body for football in the state of Maharashtra, has not gone unnoticed as the association is currently ranked second from among the 36 affiliated football bodies with the AIFF (All India Football Association).
Based on AIFF’s performance assessment for the 2019-20 football season WIFA was ranked second behind top-ranked West Bengal, governed by The Indian Football Association (The IFA) and Kerala Football Association (KFA) ranked third. The points allotted to the states were based on the activities carried out by the governing associations under the aforementioned verticals with each vertical weighted accordingly. All three states had Development Officers deputed and funded by AIFF.
Souter Vaz, General Secretary, WIFA, was proud on their achievement and praised the efforts of his team. “I give full credit to the entire WIFA team, it was a perfect collective effort. We (WIFA) feel very proud to be ranked second and it proves that all our hard work over the past couple of years has been recognized by AIFF. We will continue to strive harder and take steps to ensure the long term growth of football, and I’m sure that we will see more teams coming up from the state and more players from Maharashtra representing the national team in the near future.” Vaz mentioned.
During the period, WIFA organized 14 AIFF ‘D’ License courses with 352 registered candidates and 284 aspirants passing the exams and acquiring the ‘D’ license. Besides the ‘D’ License, WIFA organized 3 ‘E’ License course which is the new module introduced by the AIFF for Grassroots Instructors. The Western India Football Association also arranged two Referees Education courses.
WIFA also conducted the Inter-District Senior Men’s Championship 2019-20, at Kolhapur, the Inter-District Women’s Championship at Jalgaon, the Inter-District Sub Junior Girl’s Championship at Palghar, and the WIFA Women’s Championship. The state association also responsible for the smooth conduct of the Tri-Nation league between Sweden, Thailand and hosts India, which was a preparatory event for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup 2021, in December 2019 and hosted the Indian Arrows team during the later stages of the I-League.
Under the WIFA umbrella, there are 34 affiliated districts with over 1200 registered clubs. With the focus turning on to grassroots development, the district of Mumbai has seen a massive surge of more than 500 academy formations for developmental activities in the recent past. There are 18 AIFF Accredited Academies from Maharashtra, which is a big number considering the licensing criteria required to be fulfilled.