Laos ready to spur women's football growth
Vientiane: Lao Football Federation has drafted a blueprint to develop women's football further and is looking confidently ahead to spur its growth for the future.
Laos recently started its involvement in the AFC Women’s Assistance Programme (WAP) with a visit by AFC Head of Women’s Development Julie Teo and AFC Coaching Instructor Connie Selby.
Lao Football Federation (LFF) Women’s Football Committee Chairman Viengsavanh Seangchan welcomed the AFC delegates and looked forward to introducing the new initiatives under WAP to Lao women’s football.
“We hope to gain knowledge in order to develop Lao women’s football to another stage,” said Seangchan, a former Lao international and head coach of the national women's team.
LFF General Secretary Dr. Xaybandith Rasphone was enthusiastic to implement the draft blueprint of the women’s football strategy that was drawn up after a series of brainstorming meetings with stakeholders of Lao women’s football.
“The AFC can then come back and see the progress made by LFF in women’s football,” Dr. Rasphone confidently said.
Meanwhile, Teo said: “The target for LFF is to participate in the AFC U-14 Girls’ Regional Championship ASEAN in 2015. This developmental squad can then go from strength to strength to participate in further competitions such as the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2017 Qualifiers and the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship 2019 Qualifiers and maintain Lao’s fourth spot in ASEAN women’s football rankings.”
Lao also recently organised grassroots festivals in three provinces this year and the organisers were encouraged by the numbers of girls (20-40) who turned up at each of these festivals.
The LFF aims to implement a regular grassroots programme for girls aged six to 12 in Xayyabury province where women’s football is popular, and then expand this grassroots programme to four other provinces.
They believe that the good foundation at grassroots will give rise to more players who will in the future be able to join clubs who are currently struggling to get enough players to play in the domestic league. The next step would then be to improve their domestic league.
During the visit, the AFC delegation also observed a selection trial for the combined Vientiane schools’ girls’ team to compete in February 2014 in the annual National High School Games where girls’ football is one of the games’ events.
The delegation also observed the Lao national women’s team training in preparation for the SEA Games in Myanmar in December. The Lao national women’s team recently concluded a training tour to Kuala Lumpur where they played two matches against the Malaysia national women’s team, where they won 1-0 and then lost 1-0.
WAP is a new AFC programme introduced to MAs as a development tool that aims to customise development programmes according to their level of women’s football and needs.