With the women's game making unprecedented strides in Montenegro, the local football federation is planning to establish both a women's league and a female national team.
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The efforts of the Football Federation of Montenegro (FSCG) to promote women's football are bearing fruit with more than 300 girls now playing the game in seven registered clubs.
That Montenegrin women's football is growing fast was borne out by the girls football open days that the FSCG staged recently throughout the southeastern European country. Zoran Mijović, the FSCG's coordinator for women's football, said the events – which were organised with UEFA's assistance – were a success: "We had activities in several Montenegrin cities to help make women's football more popular. The results were impressive. I couldn't believe so many girls wanted to play football. There is great potential here, regardless of the small size of our country."
So encouraged has the FSCG been that plans are afoot for a women's league in Montenegro as well as for a national team. "We have seven clubs and by September I think three more will be registered. So, with ten clubs, we could form a competition and I hope that from September we will have it. The most important thing is that the girls have good training programmes and a chance to develop. There is great enthusiasm among the girls and people in charge of women's clubs and we must take advantage of it," said Mijović, who suggests that a women's national team could make its debut next year.
"We have 25 to 30 players who could play for the national team," he continued. "We had invitations from neighbouring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania to play friendlies, but we had to wait until we had sorted our situation out. Now that we have a solid base, we can think about having a national team."
Developing the women's game has been a key target for the FSCG ever since the federation became fully autonomous five years ago. However, it was also problematic, as Žarko Vukčević, director of the FSCG youth football committee, explained: "With the population of Montenegro being just over 600,000, and with no real tradition for women's football, our job was complicated. We had to teach girls to love and to play football at the same time. Once we did that, we had to make sure the girls continued their football development at organised clubs. We will do nothing if girls stop playing because they don't have proper training or equipment."