After losing 0-8 against hosts DPR Korea in their opening match of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers, the Indian Senior Women’s National Team locks horns against Korea Republic on April 5, 2017 at the Kim II Sung Stadium in Pyongyang, DPR Korea. The kick-off for which is slated for 15.00 IST.
In an exclusive interview, Head Coach Sajid Dar talks about the DPR Korea match, opponents Korea Republic, the Indian Team’s preparation and a lot more.
How was the match against DPR Korea?
We stood our ground for ninety minutes and although the score-line was harsh on us, the players played with a fighting spirit. DPR Korea are one of the best teams in the World and it was evident on the ground that we were the second team.
Was it a learning experience?
It was more than a learning experience. You don’t get to play against some of the best teams in the world often and when you clash against them, the experience makes you a mature player. In football, you don’t lose, you win or you learn. We learnt a lot when we played DPR Korea.
For a team whose average age is 22 years, how important is it to play against tougher opponents?
Playing against tougher opponents gives you an unexplainable match experience, which develops you as a player. It helps in the overall development of the team as well, as players get to learn to gel together in extreme pressure situations.
Our team has four players (Kashmina, Poonam Sharma, Ratanbala Devi, Sweety Devi) that progressed from the Indian U-19 Team to the Senior Team. Also we have players in our squad like Dalima Chhibber, Anju Tamang, Dangmei Grace and Panthoi who are hardly 21. For these young players, the match experience is immense.
India plays Korea Republic next. How do you rate the opponents?
We have utmost respect for our opponents. When we last played Korea Republic, we lost by a big margin in the Asian Games in 2014 (Incheon, Korea Republic). Hopefully, that will not be the case this time around as we will give them a tough fight.
How is the morale in the squad after the loss against DPR Korea?
We are taking one match at a time and our complete focus is on Korea Republic. Winning and losing are parts of life, you have to look forward and keep moving forward.
(Interview & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)