Thomas Dennerby, the coach of India’s women’s soccer team, said the goal of reaching the quarter-finals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup was a “realistic goal”. India will host the tournament in three venues in Maharashtra from January 20th.
“From the beginning, we are saying that reaching the quarter-finals is our first goal. If we reach the quarter-finals, anything can happen, because all the teams will be under pressure in the playoffs. So we are not talking about the first step. the quarter-finals are the first and realistic goal, ”Dennerby said.
India will start the campaign on January 20 against Iran, Navi Mumbai, and then play the next two matches against Chinese Taipei and China in Group A. The first two of the three teams will be joined by the top two teams in the third round. advance to the quarterfinals.
AFC Women’s Asian Cup: India moves Mumbai to the base for the tournament
International senior and central defender Ashalata Devi said it was his dream to play in the Asian Cup. “It simply came to our notice then [to play in the Asian Cup] and when we finally heard that India was the host we felt that all the dreams of our players could come true. Our goal now is to qualify for the quarter-finals and try to qualify for the World Cup for the first time. The World Cup standings will be historic. This Asian Cup is very important for everyone, ”said the 28-year-old.
The Indian team touched Mumbai on Thursday after training in Kochiko. The team has been in training since Dennerby was appointed in August last year.
“We have been together for more than 5 months and we have had more than 200 sessions trying out football, strength, running sessions, games and different styles. The team has developed a lot since we started. Hopefully we can see that when we play, ”said Dennerby, who previously coached the Swedish and Nigerian women’s national teams.
“In the team phase we play three different teams with three different styles of play. The match against Iran will be very tough for us. We have to be very strict in frustrating their opponents and dealing with their failures, ”he added.
Midfielder Hemam Shilky Devi, 16, is the youngest in the team. “I play with so many senior players and that can help. I can share my experience with my u17 teammates. It’s a good experience to come to the senior team. We need to work harder here, ”Shilky said.