Indian women’s football team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan feels participating in the COTIF tournament in Spain will enable the players to test themselves against “physical” sides outside Asia.
Participating in the tournament, to be played in Valencia from August 1 to 6, will aid the team's preparations for the SAFF Championships and Olympic qualifiers, she added.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to explore and test ourselves outside of Asia. We have been dominating the South-Asian football circuit in recent years and have a decent idea where we stand in Asia. This tournament will give us a better understanding of how we fare against world-class European teams,” Aditi said.
“The tournament is significant as it will be extremely beneficial for us to see the level of professionalism and that is something which we should aspire for. I need to thank Sports Authority of India and AIFF for giving us this opportunity to test ourselves against some of the best teams in the world,” she added.
The Indian team will play against Spanish top division sides Fundacion Albacete and Levante U D on August 1 and 3 before taking on the national team of Morocco on August 5. The Indian team plays its last match against Madrid C F on August 6.
Asked how challenging the tournament will be, Aditi said, “Having played in England, I am aware that it will be a tough challenge as most European teams love to play a physical game and to some extent we are not used to playing against such teams. They will be physically stronger than us but I feel it is the right challenge for us and we will have to adapt accordingly, whilst playing to our strengths.”
Talking about how the senior team has been shaping up with the influx of youth, she said, “It is good to have youngsters to challenge some of the senior players for their position and that helps us push each other to do better while working hard.
“The young energy and challenge is always needed. You do not want any player in the team to take their position for granted.
“The youngsters will be the future so it is good for them to be with the experienced players and learn what is needed from them both on and off the field, because in this game, what you do on the field is as important as what you do outside it.”
The women's team left for Spain on Friday and it is the first time ever that the women’s senior team is travelling to Europe to participate in a tournament. The exposure tour has been arranged by AIFF in coordination with Sports Authority of India, keeping in mind the crucial Olympic Qualifiers in November. The senior team will also be defending its title in the SAFF women’s championship, scheduled to be held later this year.
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