After winning the 2014 AIFF Women’s Player of the Year Award, Bala Devi looks to emulate her SAFF Championship form in the Rio 2016 Olympic Qualifiers.
As the Indian Women’s National Team gear up to take on Sri Lanka and Myanmar in the Qualifiers for Rio, Bala, in a freewheeling interview with AIFF Media talks about India’s chances, preparation, scoring goals and a lot more.
How much are you looking forward to these Olympic Qualifiers?
I am well prepared for the Qualifiers and I want to see us through. In fact, we all have prepared well and are prepared to meet this challenge head-on. We want to make our country proud.
What are your thoughts on the opposition?
We respect our opponents. They are powerful teams. It will be a difficult two matches, but we will try our level best to win those fixtures.
What are our chances of progression?
We have a good chance of progression if we work hard and emulate what we have learnt in the camp. We need to be fit, both mentally and physically in order to secure progression. We will try our level best.
Any particular number of goals, you have in mind to score in the upcoming tournament?
(Laughs). I have set a target not for myself but for the team. Let that be a secret. We have to score in order to win and progress. I am feeling good in terms of physical fitness and wish to keep scoring for my country. We have set a target for ourselves.
Will we be able to see the sensational Bala Devi of SAFF 2014?
I hope to emulate my 2014 form in the upcoming tournament. You have to score goals to win. But it’s not about me but the unit as a whole. It doesn’t matter as to who scores as long as we manage to score.
You are one of the senior members of the team. Does that bring in extra pressure?
It doesn’t. The young contingent present in the squad are very dynamic and willing to learn. They are also very talented. My job is to rub them with my experience and try to help them in all areas.
(Interview & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)