Bhubaneswar:FIFA, the governing body of football worldwide has asked India to focus on the women's game in particular as part of its Vision India project.
The beautiful game seems to be well catching up with the youth in India and testimony to that is the Under-13 football festival in Bhubaneshwar.
It's festival time for the young footballers representing 16 states. They are in Bhubaneswar for an 8-day under 13 girl's football festival - the first talent hunt of its kind in India sponsored by the All India Football Federation.
Athough Manipur and Bengal have remained the traditional bastions of women's football, the game has been attracting young girls in other states like Goa, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Jharkhand, UP, Punjab and Orissa which now has as many as six players in the national women's side.
Nearly 80% of these young girls come from rural and lower middle class background and while their commitment to football can not be questioned, the prospects of getting jobs is a major incentive for most of them. And why not? That is how their interest in the game can be sustained.
While for a select few the game is merely a pastime, but for most the stakes are much higher for it could mean the beginning of a career and ensure a stable economic future.