The one bright spot amidst the COVID-19 pandemic Indian Senior Women’s National Team Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan states was India being confirmed as hosts of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022.
In a chat with AIFF TV, Aditi said: “Jo bhi disappointment tha yeh lockdown mein nahi khelne ke liye, woh sab chala gaya yeh khabar sunke. (Everyone was feeling low and disappointed for not being able to go out and play during the lockdown. But once we got to know this, every bit of negativity just went away).”
“The Asian Cup comes almost immediately after the FIFA U-17 World Cup. So it’s a dual advantage for us. It’s such a great platform. Everyone is excited and motivating each other. In terms of acquiring fitness, taking care of one’s diet – everyone looks so focused,” she added.
“It’s the biggest platform on the continent and that’s going to be hosted in our own country. This exposure will help us tremendously. I would request everyone — right from spectators, media, and every stakeholder to come forward and make it a grand success.”
Making a mention of the recent exposure tours which the Indian Women’s Team were part of, Aditi felt “they have made a huge difference to the team.”
“If you see the results — we have constantly improved. We have regularly had better performances against better teams. As a whole team and a unit we have been improving. We are understanding each other better – the game sense has improved,” she explained.
All India Football Federation had arranged friendly matches for the women’s team. In 2019, they played 23 matches including friendlies against Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Spain U19 as well as Villareal U20 side, and other club sides.
“We have a lot of youngsters in the team. Maymol (Rocky – Head Coach, Indian Senior Women’s National Team) Ma’am has given an opportunity to a lot of youngsters who didn’t have a lot of experience. These International matches and tournaments which we have been playing have given us confidence, understanding while improving our fitness levels. No matter how much you train, how hard you train — some things can only be learnt through matches.”
“The women’s game has evolved a lot,” Aditi expressed. “The Women’s World Cup France 2019 grabbed a lot of attention. I was extremely surprised with some of the moves, and the goals. In fact, it was hard to differentiate it from the men’s World Cup. That sent an understanding as to how much we need to improve, and now that we have the U-17 Women’s World Cup, the standard will be the same as that of the boys.”