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India Women’s coach Sajid Dar: We cannot underestimate Hong Kong

Indian Women's National Team (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)

The Indian Women’s Senior National Team take on Hong Kong in their last match of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers at the Kim II Sung Stadium in Pyongyang tomorrow (April 11, 2017). The kick-off for which is at 12.00 IST.

Both India and Hong Kong have failed to record wins their respective qualifying campaigns, losing all three match. While, opponents Hong Kong come on the back of a 6-0 defeat against Korea Republic, India suffered a 7-1 loss to Uzbekistan in their last match.

The Indian Women find themselves at the bottom of Group B, courtesy of goal difference despite being level on points with Hong Kong, but a win in the next match could give them a fourth place finish.

Head Coach of the Indian Women’s National Team Sajid Dar said, “We will play for a win, but we cannot underestimate Hong Kong. They (Hong Kong) are punching above their weight and we have to be wary of them.”

“The FIFA Rankings are of little significance when the Teams take to the field. What matters is how you play Football there. Football is not played on paper but on the pitch”, said Sajid, reflecting on Hong Kong’s 62nd FIFA Ranking as compared to India’s 56th.

“They (Hong Kong) maintain their shape pretty well and they (Hong Kong) will give us a tough time on the pitch. It will be an even and closely contested match, as both Teams will be looking to end their campaigns on a winning note.”

With the average age of the Senior Women’s Team being just 22 years, the Players have had a learning experience clashing against some of the best Teams in Women’s Football.

Skipper Bala Devi said that the experience has been “extraordinary in terms of Footballing standards.”

“We do not get to play top Teams in World Football every day, and here we played against three (DPR Korea, Korea Republic and Uzbekistan) such Teams.”

“It has been an immense learning experience for us as a Team.”

“Winning and losing is part of Football, but what matters is that you learn from your mistakes”, stated defender Ashalata Devi.

“We have developed into better Players because of exposure to high level competitive environment”, explained Manisha Panna.

“Some of our role models play in these Teams and it was an honour to share the field with them and learn from them”, added Ratanbala Devi, who graduated from the Indian U-19 Team to the Senior Team and made her International Debut for the Senior Team in India’s loss against DPR Korea.

(Report & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)