The India U-19 women’s football team left for Dhaka on Wednesday where they will compete in the SAFF U-19 Women’s Championship, with their opening fixture scheduled for December 13 against Sri Lanka.
The squad had been training in Goa and head coach Alex Ambrose believes the camp will help the girls adapt better. “We have been training in Goa, and the girls have been adapting to all the situations here,” said Ambrose before the team’s departure on Wednesday.
“It’s a tough time for everyone in the world and we got the opportunity to train and play, for which I am happy. We certainly want to do well and the federation is supporting us so that we can live up to a certain expectation,” added Ambrose.
The U-19 side is a relatively new team with a few players who have already been in the national team fold. Ambrose believes that playing in the SAFF tournament will help the girls understand the level of football played at the international arena.
“It’s a new team and everyone is excited to play a good brand of football. Playing competitive teams will help acclimatise them, and gain an understanding of International football. The players need to believe in themselves and play good football,” said Ambrose.
“It will help the girls prepare themselves to deal with tough situations. Expectations are always there, but we are here to play good football. There is absolutely no pressure on the players. We just want them to perform well, enjoy their football and have a good championship,” he stated.
India will play their second game against Bhutan on December 15, followed by Bangladesh (December 17) and Nepal (December 19) in a round-robin format. The top two sides will face each other in the final, which will be played on December 22.The squad:
Goalkeepers: Anshika, Adrija Sarkhel, Manju Ganjhu.
Defenders: Astam Oraon, Nisha, Nirmala Devi, Purnima Kumari, Shilky Devi, Ritu Devi, Kritina Devi.
Midfielders: Poonam, Nitu Linda, Babina Devi, Santosh, Priyangka Devi, Mariyammal Balamurugan, Anju.
Forwards: Karen Estrocio, Amisha Baxla, Lynda Kom Serto, Sumati Kumari, Apurna Narzary, Santhiya Nadupatti Venugadajalam.