A former player for India, Shukla Dutta was named coach of the U19 women’s football squad on Saturday, in advance of the SAFF Championships in February of 2019. In an all-female support staff, former India international Sradhanjali Samantaray and goalkeeping coach Lourembam Ronibala Chanu will work alongside Dutta, a former coach of the India U17 women’s team. The Indian squad will start getting ready for the SAFF Championships in Goa early in the next month. “For us, the women’s Under-19 SAFF tournament holds great significance. Talented players can use this competition as a stepping stone to the seniors, which is the next level, according to a statement from M Satyanarayan, acting secretary-general of the All India Football Federation.

The fact that the U19 women’s team’s technical staff is entirely composed of female members is fantastic,” Satyanarayan continued.

India entered the competition for the fourth time in 2018, winning the championship in 2022 and placing second behind Bangladesh in the competition’s first year.

This year, India had placed third.

Former India captain IM Vijayan presided over a virtual conference to choose the support staff, which was also attended by Satyanarayan, Syed Sabir Pasha, the technical director, and Manoranjan Bhattacharya, the deputy chairman of the technical committee.