Gokulam Kerala to play AFC Women's Club Championship 2023

Gokulam Kerala FC's women's football team before leaving for the AFC Women's Club Championship 2022. Gokulam Kerala FC

Gokulam Kerala FC will compete in the 2023 AFC Women's Club Championship, the Asian Football Confederation confirmed on Wednesday. The tournament is scheduled to be held between 6-12 November 2023. Further details are yet to be announced.

This development comes after Gokulam wrote to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) regarding their participation in the invitational tournament where Asia's top women's club compete for continental glory. They had requested the AIFF to recommend their participation in the lone Asian-level women's club competition. The AIFF in turn wrote to AFC seeking their inclusion, and they confirmed the participation of the reigning champions of India in the upcoming Championship.

Gokulam Kerala had initially not been included in the tournament after the AFC had decided to shift the zones for competition, but after the letters were exchanged, they will now get the chance to do what they could not last year. They had not been able to compete in the 2022 edition due to the ban enforced on AIFF by FIFA at the time. Having landed in Uzbekistan on the morning the ban was enforced, the team had been stranded in the country and refused participation by AFC/the organisers.

They had written to the AIFF detailing their unprecedented domestic success and highlighting what had happened last season.

Earlier this year, Gokulam had defended their Indian Women's League title in style, winning their third successive crown after a lopsided 5-0 win against Kickstart FC in the final. They scored an incredible 64 goals in 10 unbeaten games this season. Their Nepali striker Sabitra Bhandari won the golden boot with 29 goals while their India national playmaker Indumathi Kathiresan won the MVP award.