THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Ashalata Devi: Thankful to the Government of Jharkhand to host us during tough times

The Indian Women's national team at their team hotel in Jamshedpur. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)
The Indian Women's national team at their team hotel in Jamshedpur. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)

The Indian Women’s Team have gathered in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, for their preparatory camp leading to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup which is to be hosted in India from January 2022 onwards.

At a time when the pandemic has crippled normal life and normalcy hasn’t yet been restored in all fields, the players are elated at being back at the National camp once again.

Indian Women’s Team captain Ashalata Devi said: “Keeping in mind the current pandemic situation in the world it’s not easy to set up such camps for any sporting events. We are extremely thankful that the Jharkhand Government and AIFF have come together to arrange this camp for the team. We can only hope to move forward together in our preparation for the Asian Cup,” she mentioned.

The Indian women had earlier travelled twice to international exposure tours in Turkey and Uzbekistan wherein they played the likes of Uzbekistan, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and other teams earlier this year.

The Indian Women’s Team has a new Head Coach in the form of Thomas Dennerby. Dennerby has an experience of over 30 years in coaching several National squads with much success. The UEFA Pro Diploma Holder had guided Sweden’s Women’s National team to a 3rd-place finish in the FIFA World Cup in 2011, and a quarter-final spot in the 2012 London Olympics.

He also served as the Head Coach of the Nigerian Women’s National team wherein he coached the Super Falcons to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. He also helped the Nigerian women to win the AWCON Award 2018, and was awarded the 2018 Coach of the Year in Nigeria.

“Being back in the camp feels absolutely great. Personally, I am even more elated as I am back after a long injury. But we are all aware of the massive task ahead of us, to get ready for the Asian Cup,” winger Sanju Yadav said.

“Everyone is motivated, and our new coach Thomas Dennerby has also been very helpful on and off the pitch. He has experience of coaching at the highest level, and we’re all looking forward to learning as much as we can from him.”

Midfielder Sangita Basfore feels the Indian’s women’s team is “one big family.”

“We are like one big family. We can now shift focus to preparing for the Asian Cup, and I can guarantee that everyone is highly motivated. We are all very thankful to the Jharkhand Government for hosting us in Jamshedpur,” said Sangita.

(Soumo Ghosh / AIFF Media)