Stenta takes Kolkata by storm

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Adelaide United’s Liberty A-League coach Adrian Stenta declared huge potential for Australian-Indian collaboration in the women’s space after a week-long training camp in Kolkata.

Stenta was part of the international coaching cohort leading the Women In Sports Elite Trails, featuring almost 30 of India’s top female players.

The coaches also ran a hugely successful grassroots clinic for 33 kids aged 6-14, with acting Australian Consulate-General to Kolkata Kevin Goh also attending, and distributing footballs and Matildas jerseys to local players.

Stenta was impressed with the talent and application of the Indian talent, which ranged from ages 15 to 33, and revealed that some could make their way to Australia.

“It was a fantastic week in Kolkata and a very beneficial experience for myself and the coaches to attend and also for the players who participated. The reason I think it was beneficial because there’s the possibility of forming meaningful links between there two countries and federations,” Stenta said.

“I was pleased with the standard of players we came across and optimistic about the ability to grow the women’s game in India and Australia as a result of the partnership between the two.

“Another benefit of the experience of travelling to India is being immersed in their culture and seeing the way they do things over there, so the opportunity to learn from another culture was another highlight and also the opportunity to impart some of our knowledge and understanding was affirming for me.

“The ability for different countries and federations to work together and the benefits of finding commonality and similarity far outweigh looking at differences or looking at them as opponents. I’m in favour of more cross country and cross culture collaboration.”

Fellow Liberty A-League coach, Western United’s Mark Torcaso, and NPLW coach Peter Rakic (Perth SC) also joined Stenta, along with international coaches from Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and Marbella (Spain).

“The camp was a resounding success. In total 29 girls enjoyed the camp and so did we thanks to the commitment from our Australian coaches,” said Kolkata-based organiser Anuj Kichlu.

“We hope that this will open up the door for a number of these players to trial and potentially sign contracts in places around the world, including Australia, with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of women’s football in India. We are confident plenty of female players will now be able to avail this opportunity and practice and play football 8-10 months a year.

“It was exciting to hear about the progress of women’s football in Australia, just weeks out from the 2023 FIFA World Cup

“We spoke about a number of potential projects and collaborations moving forward and I also believe that government tie ups at all levels are possible as it is beneficial to both countries as well as to the sport itself.”

The Women In Sports camp was organised by the AMPL Foundation, and the Football Players’ Association of India.

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