The Indian women's national team is gearing up for the fifth edition of the SAFF Women's Championship, which kicks off on Tuesday (March 12, 2019) and will see the Indian eves gunning for their fifth straight title.
This year, the tournament will see a total of six teams take part, with India scheduled to face the Maldives and Sri Lankan teams in the group stage on March 13 and 17 respectively.
At the pre-tournament press conference, coach Maymol Rocky expressed confidence in her side. "The SAFF Championship has been a successful one for us over the years and this time, we will go all out to lift the trophy again," she said.
When asked about the young nature of the squad, the head coach stated that she has full faith in the abilities of her players and expects them to deliver the goods. She stated, "These youngsters can work magic on the field.
"They have been together for a long time now and have made a lot of progress in the last few months. With the Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 next month, our objective is to reach our peak levels at the correct time and hence, we have to play at our top level here," she added.
Defender Ashalata Devi, who will captain the team in this championship, talked about the positive mood in the squad. "We are all ready for the tournament to begin," she opined. "The spirit in the team is high and given that we are the defending champions, teams will be wary of us. We have to go out all guns blazing and are confident that we can go all the way."
The Indian team is coming into the tournament after a sixth-place finish in the Turkish Women's Cup, where they faced off against the likes of Romania and Uzbekistan.
"The Turkey tour was a vital experience for the girls. We faced some high-quality opponents and despite not being on the right side of results, we learned a lot from it. Now, all our focus is on the SAFF Championships and defending our crown," coach Rocky stated.
India will face the Maldives in their first match on Wednesday at the Sahid Rangsala Stadium in Biratnagar, Nepal. The kick-off will be at 2.45 PM IST and the match can be live streamed online on mycujoo.