SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship Head Coach Thomas Dennerby pronounced the youngsters who will be representing the country, “pose a bright future for Women’s football in India.”
Moments after naming the National squad for the forthcoming SAFF Women’s U18 Championship which kicks-off on March 15, Dennerby maintained: “We have a lot of good players in the squad, and these girls pose a really bright future for women’s football in India.”
The 62-year-old coach, who had previously coached the Senior Indian Women’s Team feels the education that the youngsters have had since an early age makes their prospects bright. “The great thing about them is that they have been properly educated about football from a very young age. The key now is to keep on with that. They need to keep training properly on a regular basis,” said Dennerby.
“I’ve seen many players who are supremely talented at the age of 15-16, but then they disappear later on. And many who have some average talent go on to be top players in the world. So it’s important to practice hard in an organised manner, no matter how much talent one has,” Dennerby, who has had the experience of guiding the Swedish Women’s Team to the quarterfinals of the Olympics, and the Nigerian Women’s Team to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 opined.
Dennerby’s side is all set to participate in the SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship, which is set to be held in Jamshedpur from March 15 onwards. The experienced coach feels that playing in a tournament like SAFF will give the girls the experience of playing under the pressure of competitive matches.
“Although this is not the fully finalised World Cup squad yet, the SAFF tournament will be crucial for the girls here. Normally, if we are playing friendlies, we do not much care about the results, the focus is more on the progress we have made as a team in different areas of the pitch,” quipped Dennerby. “But a tournament is a tournament, and the results are important. There will be a little pressure on the players, but it will be good to play under such pressure.”
The India U-17 team has been training in Jamshedpur with infrastructural and logistical aid from the Government of Jharkhand, are now set to face off against Bangladesh and Nepal in the SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship.
March 15: India vs Nepal
March 19: Bangladesh vs India
March 21: Nepal vs India
March 25: India vs Bangladesh
Goalkeepers: Hempriya Seram, Melody Chanu Keisham, Adrija Sarkhel.
Defenders: Astam Oraon, Nisha, Ritu Devi, Purnima Kumari, Naketa, Kajal, Varshika.
Midfielders: Shilky Devi Hemam, Poonam, Subhangi Singh, Priyanka Sujeesh, Martina Thokchom, Babina Devi, Nitu Linda.
Forwards: Naita Kumari, Rejiya Devi, Amisha Baxla, Sunita Munda, Lynda Kom Serto.