The Indian women’s football team will face Villareal CF to kick off its campaign in the 2019 COTIF Cup in Valencia, Spain, on Thursday.

The team was supposed to face Equatorial Guinea originally but an update from AIFF on Twitter indicated otherwise.

Speaking ahead of the tournament, head coach Maymol Rocky said that playing tough teams in the competition will put her team in good stead. She hoped for “a proper estimation of where we stand against quality opponents, and how we can play against them.”

India had a three-week-long camp in New Delhi ahead of their sojourn to the Iberian Peninsula.

“We have had a good three weeks of preparation with the squad, where we have worked on a number of things to improve the overall game that we play,” said Rocky, adding, “We also have a number of new faces in the squad, and we are hoping that their improvement will go on to increase our squad strength in the future.”

“The main aim for us in the COTIF Cup is to get some international matches under our belt. We will be facing some tough teams this time, and that will really give us the match-experience that we are looking for, in order to take this team forward,” she added.

Having registered a six-place rise to number 57 in the Fifa rankings, the Indian team will now be looking to build on this progress, with one eye on the World Cup Qualifiers next year.

“For me, right now, the most important thing is to play these matches against top teams in order to get our team ready for the challenges ahead,” Rocky said.

(With PTI inputs)