Alex Ambrose: U-17 Women's Championship a chance to assess players for World Cup 2020

The ongoing U-17 Women's Championship will help newly appointed coach Thomas Dennerby and his assistant Alex Ambrose assess players for the World Cup next year.

Alex Ambrose is the head coach of Lionesses team in the U-17 Women's Championship and is also the assistant coach of the national U-17 side.   -  AIFF Media

As India prepares to host its second FIFA World Cup, the junior women footballers are getting set to take their shot at being a part of the team that will represent the country in the mega event.

With about a year to go, four teams – the Lionesses, the Panthers, the Tigresses and the Cheetahs – are now participating in the Hero U-17 Women’s Championship in Kalyani, West Bengal.

The players participating in the four-nation tournament will be closely watched by the coaching staff of the India U-17 women’s football team, as they look to build the best squad ahead of the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

India U-17 women’s team assistant coach Alex Ambrose is in charge of one of the Lionesses and believes that the exposure that the girls will get from the tournament would be huge.

READ | All you need to know about the Hero U-17 Women's Championship

“It’s a huge thing that these girls will get to play in a tournament like this. The pressure will be there because it will be broadcast across the country. They need to know that when they represent the country, the nation will also rally in their support,” said Ambrose.

“I am sure that they (players) will look at these kind of events and look to learn from the experience of playing under pressure. They need to look past the pressure, focus on the game, and try to be as successful as possible,” he added.

Ambrose also said that the tournament will give him and head coach Thomas Dennerby the chance to look at a large pool of players from the country, as they shape the Indian team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year. 

“It really is a unique tournament, where we will get to see so many players from across the country showcase their talent. The head coach is also here assessing all the players, and I think it could go a long way in helping us shaping the team for the World Cup,” he said.

Indian football legend Bembem Devi is also part of the tournament being the head coach of the Cheetahs. She believes that with a year to go for the World Cup, this is the right time to host the tournament.

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“The Hero U-17 Women’s Championship could help bring into focus a number of talented girls. This could only help the India U-17 team that would play in the World Cup as it could help the coach have a bigger pool of players to pick from, and competition for places is always a great motivator for the players to improve themselves,” said Bembem.

She also said that women’s football in India has grown over the last few years, and more concentration on youth tournaments will further help in the long run.

“Such initiatives are great for the girls who want to play football at the top level when they grow up. Over the last few years, women’s football has improved by leaps and bounds. We now have a professional league that has already supplied the national team with so many players,” she said.

The U-17 Women's Championship started on November 11 and will end on Nov 17, with the final scheduled at 7:30 PM IST. Lionesses and Tigresses won on the opening day of the tournament.

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