Head coach Maymol Rocky Saturday said the Indian women’s team should focus on the AFC Qualifiers which will help them climb the Asian football ladder.
“Now, it’s time for us, as a team, to take things forward from here. We missed out in Round 2 of the Olympic qualifiers by a whisker, but I feel that our next objective should definitely be the AFC Qualifiers,” Maymol said.
“Qualification for the Asian Championship will be a big step for this team, and that is something that we all need to prepare ourselves for,” she added.
The India women’s team created history last year by progressing to the AFC Olympic Qualifiers for the first time in the side’s history. They further went on to put up a brilliant performance in the second round of the Olympic Qualifiers, only falling behind home side Myanmar on goal difference.
With the team departing for Spain on Saturday to play in the COTIF Cup, Maymol believes that her team is much better prepared as compared last year, to face the tough opponents in the upcoming tournament.
“We played the COTIF Cup last year as well, but I think we are more prepared this time around. The players have really improved over this last year, and we saw that in the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 1 and Round 2,” she said.
The team has had a three-week-long training camp at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi and Rocky feels that the new training techniques that she and the coaching staff have implemented over the course of the camp have put the team in good stead.
“It’s been a very fruitful few weeks at the camp, where we have implemented some new training techniques. The results are really paying off, as I’ve seen a number of players make good improvements over this period.”
The camp also saw the introduction of a number of new faces and while Maymol said that these players still have a long way to go, proper work can get them to the levels where they may get the desired results.
“We brought a number of new faces to the camp, and they have been adjusting to the different training techniques and schedules really well. Of course, they all have a long way to go to reach the levels we are aiming for, but there’s nothing that hard work and dedication can’t achieve.”
The fixtures for the tournament are below:
August 1: India vs Guinea
August 3: India vs Bolivia
August 4: Mauritiana vs India
August 5: Spain vs India
August 8: Final
Goalkeepers: Linthoingambi Devi, Aditi Chauhan, Sowmiya Narayansamy
Defenders: Sweety Devi, Jabamani Tudu, Ashalata Devi, Michel Castanha, Pakpi Devi
Midfielders: Sangita Basfore, Sanju Yadav, Ratanbala Devi, Manisha, Ritu Rani, Grace Lalrampari, Ranjana Chanu
Forwards: Anushka Samuel, Dangmei Grace, Anju Tamang, Bala Devi, Renu, Roja Devi, Daya Devi.