Amritsar, June 13 () Strong contender Odisha will square off against Jharkhand in the opening fixture of the final round of the Senior Women’s National Football Championship 2022-23 will begin here on Wednesday.
Comprising 12 teams divided into two groups, the final round of the 27th edition of the tournament will be held across two venues GNDU Sports Complex and Khalsa College.
The matches will be played in a single round-robin format, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the semifinals, which will be played on June 25 and 26 respectively. The final will be played on June 28 at the GNDU Sports Complex in Amritsar.
Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Chandigarh, Odisha, Karnataka and Jharkhand are placed in Group A while Manipur, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Railways, West Bengal and Haryana complete Group B. The 12 teams are coming on the back of a thrilling group stage, informed a report on the AIFF website.
Haryana (Group I), Maharashtra (Group II), Himachal Pradesh (Group III), Jharkhand (Group IV), Tamil Nadu (Group V) and Manipur (Group VI) all topped their respective groups.
Meanwhile, Chandigarh (Group II), Karnataka (Group VI), West Bengal (Group V) and Odisha (Group III) advanced to the final round as the four best second-placed teams.
At 11 goals, Anju is currently the top scorer of the tournament, followed by Goa’s Karen Estrocio and Karnataka’s Maitreyi Palasamudram at eight goals. Karnataka’s Kaviya Pakkirisamy and Kerala’s P. Reshma occupy the fourth and fifth spots respectively in the top goalscorers list.
Held in Kerala, the final of the previous edition of the Senior Women’s National Football Championship was won by Manipur their third consecutive title triumph, after they defeated Indian Railways in a penalty shootout. Interestingly, the two sides will face each other in the final round on June 19 at the GNDU Sports Complex.
Manipur are the record 21-time winners of the tournament the most titles won by a team since the inception of the competition in 1992. West Bengal follow the Northeast Indian state in second place with two titles to their name. They have also finished runners-up in the Championship a whopping 13 times and will be looking to lift the trophy for the first time since 1997.
The 14-day campaign will see a horde of talented young players coming into the limelight and it remains to be seen which of the teams will be crowned champions this time.