NEW DELHI (IANS) — After playing out a memorable 1-1 draw away to Vietnam in a friendly match, the Indian women's senior national football team's next assignment will be the upcoming South Asian Games 2019, which will take place in Kathmandu, Nepal from Dec. 1-10.
The Indian team is undergoing a training camp in Kolkata from Nov. 20-29 to prepare for the Games, with head coach Maymol Rocky having called up 30 players. Talking about the camp, Maymol stated that there is "increased confidence" in the team after the result against Vietnam and that these 10 days will offer her a great opportunity to assess the fresh faces in the team.
"There are a number of new players in the camp and in these 10 days, I am looking forward to seeing them play and compete with the others for a place in the final squad. From the start, our aim has been to give as many opportunities as possible to youngsters. The confidence in the team is high after the Vietnam draw and we are looking to carry it forward to Nepal now," she said.
Making their return to the national team are Dalima Chhibber and Sandhiya Ranganathan, who were part of the team that won the SAFF Women's Championship earlier this year - the last time this side played in Nepal. Maymol added, "It is good to have them (Dalima and Sandhiya) back. Certainly, with the other new players coming in as well, the senior players will be on their toes and there will be a healthy competition within the squad."
The Indian women's team will go into the South Asian Games 2019 as defending champions, having won the gold medal in the 2016 edition - where Nepal were vanquished 4-0 in the final that took place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong.
Maymol, who was the assistant coach during the last triumph, is confident of another successful tournament this time around and said the team will take it "step by step.”
She said, "We are confident of putting in a strong performance this time. However, we are not underestimating any team and will go step by step. Bangladesh and Nepal are good teams as well but we will go all-out and put our best foot forward." Striker Bala Devi, who is currently in Scotland for a week-long trial with Rangers WFC, will report to the camp by the end of the week.
The 30 players who have been called up are:
GOALKEEPERS: Aditi Chauhan, M. Linthoingambi Devi, E. Panthoi Chanu, Esther H.
DEFENDERS: Ashalata Devi, Sweety Devi, Jabamani Tudu, Ranjana Chanu, W. Linthoingambi Devi, Ritu Rani, Michel Castanha, Dalima Chhibber, Anline Fernandes
MIDFIELDERS: Sangita Basfore, Sanju, Manisha, Ratanbala Devi, Grace Lalrampari, Roja Devi, Sumithra Kamraj, Karthika Angamuthu, Soni Behera
FORWARDS: Anju Tamang, Sandhiya R, Bala Devi, Dangmei Grace, Daya Devi, Renu, Sharda Kumari, Karishma Shirvoikar