A heatwave hits you in the face as soon as you land in Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar. With temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius coupled with humidity, one quickly remembers that the women are toiling in these conditions to make the nation proud.
Coming on the back of their 5th successive SAFF Women’s Championship title, the Indian women’s team has been sweating it out training in Mandalay since March 26, 2019, gearing up for the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 enveloped by heat and humidity.
They play their first match against Indonesia on April 3, 2019.
“We arrived here eight days prior to our first match against Indonesia for acclimatization. The team has responded well, and have settled down fast to the torrid weather conditions here,” Head Coach Maymol Rocky stated. “The players have got a feel of the pitch, and the training sessions had been designed specifically to help them adjust while focusing on tactics.”
“We had won the SAFF Women’s Championship in Biratnagar (Nepal), where temperatures were similar. But here in Mandalay, its lot more humid. But not just physically, everyone is charged up mentally.”
“The weather won’t be an issue. We have prepared hard for the Olympic Qualifiers Round 2, and we won’t let the weather dictate our performance.”
“We have played 14 international matches in a span of three months before coming to Myanmar including matches in Turkey, Indonesia and Nepal, amongst others. We have also played in the first ever Hero Gold Cup in Bhubaneswar and all of these matches have helped our bodies to act quickly and adapt to the situation”, Maymol says in one breath.
The Indian women’s team had started 2019 with two matches each against Hong Kong and Indonesia, before playing in the Hero Gold Cup and subsequently moving to Turkey to participate in an 8 nation women’s tournament over there.
2020 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament – Round 2 – India’s Fixtures
April 3: India vs Indonesia
April 6: India vs Nepal
April 9: India vs Myanmar
India Women’s Squad
Linthoingambi Devi, Aditi Chauhan, Sowmiya Narayanasamy
Jabamani Tudu, Sweety Devi, Ashalata Devi, Dalima Chhibber, Michel Castanha, Lako Bhutia
Ranjana Chanu, Dangmei Grace, Sanju Yadav, Ratanbala Devi, Sumithra Kamaraj, Sangita Basfore, Indumathi Kathiresan
Anju Tamang, Roja Devi, Manisha, Sandhiya Ranganathan