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AFC Women's Asian Cup

2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup: Lack of domestic football a common factor among four eliminated teams

03:40 GMT 30/01/2022
Manhisha Kalyan, India vs Iran, AFC Women's Asian Cup
Iran, India, Myanmar and Indonesia are out of the 2022 AFC Asian Cup…

The group stage of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup is over and eight teams from the three groups have progressed to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Iran, India (Group A), Indonesia (Group B) and Myanmar (Group C) have been eliminated from the group stage. It has to be noted that hosts India could play only one match in the tournament before they had to withdraw after multiple COVID-19 cases were detected in the Blue Tigresses camp.

Amongst the teams who failed to progress from their groups, one common factor is that none of these countries had conducted their domestic women's leagues in the last two years after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world.

Not having a domestic league means that the players had less match time in the last two years which obviously had an impact on their performance at the Asian Cup.

Let us take a look at the eliminated teams and what happened in their domestic football in the last two years.

Iran (Group A)

Kowsar Women's Football League is the primary competition for women footballers in Iran. The last edition of the league was held during the 2020-21 season which saw 11 teams participating. The 2021-22 season was supposed to kick off on November 13, 2021, with a total of 12 teams taking part but the league is yet to start. So, Iran have managed to conduct their domestic league only once in the last two seasons.

Iran managed to lose against Chinese Taipei and China in the ongoing Women's Asian Cup. They had a draw against India but that result was declared null and void after India had to withdraw.

India (Group A)

The Indian Women's League (IWL), formed in 2016, have had only four seasons so far. Gokulam Kerala are the reigning champions who won the title for the first time in the 2019-20 season. Since 2020, the IWL has not been conducted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

India played only one game in the tournament, which ended in a 0-0 draw with Iran. But that result was null and void after India were forced to withdraw.

Indonesia (Group B)

The Liga 1 Putri is the top-flight women's football league in Indonesia which was formed in 2019. Persib Putri won the inaugural edition of the league. Since 2019, the league has not been conducted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Indonesia conceded 28 goals in their three defeats in Group B.

Myanmar (Group C)

The premier league of Myanmar women's football is known as The Women's League which was established in 2016. Myawady FC are the most successful team with two titles to their name while ISPE FC are the reigning champions. The last time the league was held was in 2018. In the 2018-19 edition of the league, eight teams participated who played each other twice in a round-robin format. Myanmar have not conducted a lead in the last three seasons.

Myanmar had only one point, a drew with Vietnam, but lost to Japan and South Korea.

Other than these four nations, Philippines are the only nation that have not conducted their league in the last two years, but unlike these nations, most of their players play their club football abroad. In fact, 17 out of their 23-member squad ply their trade outside Philippines. So the majority of their players got ample game time in the last two years despite the nation not conducting their domestic league.

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