India men's goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has said that women's football has huge potential in India, and initiatives of promoting the sport in rural areas will go a long way in further developing the popularity of the sport.
Sandhu's remarks came as global sportswear brand PUMA joined hands to empower Mumbai-based NGO, Parcham which has been breaking the gender stereotypes to bolster its mission of inspiring women from marginalised communities of Mumbra, a small town in Thane district near Mumbai, to take up football and make it a viable career option.
"Women football has huge potential in our country and our national team has done exceedingly well in the past. Such social inclusive initiative led by PUMA will help us to not only reach out to more and more talents at the grassroots, but it will also help to make a difference to the lives of these youngsters," Sandhu said.
Since October 2012, Parcham has been helping women break free of prejudices and reclaim their freedom through football, and now PUMA will support them with training gear and boots that will help the Parcham girls to not only perform better on the field, but also bring in a competitive edge.
"Sports has the ability to change lives -- it is a powerful tool to challenge gender norms and stereotypes. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to play, irrespective of their gender or background. Through this association, we are looking to drive the change needed for a future where every woman and girl has equal opportunities to pursue her dreams," said Abhishek Ganguly, Managing Director, PUMA India and Southeast Asia.
( With inputs from ANI )
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