Indian Women’s Head Coach Sajid Dar feels it’s “in our hands” not to get carried away after India’s dominant display against strong contenders Nepal in the SAFF Women’s Championship semi-final.
A day prior to the final against Bangladesh, Sajid spoke at length to www.the-aiff.com about not getting complacent, potential of the team, strengths of Bangladesh, a ‘special’ 17-year old and much more.
After your semi-final victory against Nepal you categorically mentioned that your Team is capable of playing better brand of Football. Can you elaborate?
I am aware of the potential of this squad. This Team is a perfect balance of youth and experience. Each one of the Players has earned their place in the squad and there is stiff competition not only for the first XI but also for the slots. I believe our best is yet to come and this Team can compete with traditionally stronger Teams.
After playing at such a high intensity against Nepal in the semi-final, how do you plan to sustain the momentum in the final?
We will play the same manner we have played all our games. It’s all about ability and we need to keep it simple and do it right. We need to back each other on the field while doing our job. It’s time to get back to the basics.
Is there any danger of the Team getting complacent?
It’s all in our hands. If we feel best to get complacent and get carried away by the performance in the semi-final we are bound to suffer. But the girls are matured enough to understand the importance of the final and we cannot take it lightly.
India were held to a goalless draw against Bangladesh in the Group League match. Will that match play at the back of your mind?
To improve as a Team you need to learn from your previous matches and work on them. Even as most prefer to speak about our semi-final display against Nepal, let me remind all that we beat Afghanistan by a big margin in our first match and were all dominant against Bangladesh. But yeah, we were unable to capitalise on the opportunities. But this is a match which we can’t afford to lose. We are looking forward to it.
How do you rate Bangladesh as a Team?
They are a very unit to crack with some very good individual quality players. And if you feel they are just a defensive team, just look back the manner they demolished Maldives 6-0 in the semi-final. They have the right balance of defence and attack. We rate them very highly.
You handed an international debut to a 17-year old Jabamani Tudu. Is she special?
She impressed me in the AFC U-19 Qualifiers and I feel she can compete with the senior girls. It was important to give her some playing time for her to gain the confidence of playing International Football. The idea is to utilise her when needed and not just keep her sitting on the bench. She can be an asset for Indian Women’s Football in coming years but at the same time she can’t afford to get carried away. So many youngsters have fallen into the trap. She needs to understand her priorities.
(Report & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)