Indian women's team stoked about Women’s Asian Cup coming home

Members of the Indian women's team are excited to play the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 at home and feel it could further promote the sport in the country.

Indian women's football team

The Indian women's football team is currently ranked 55 in the world, having won gold in its most recent outing at the South Asian Games 2019 in Nepal.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Members of the Indian women's team are stoked about the idea of playing the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 at home and feel this could further promote the sport in the country.

The nation was awarded the hosting rights on Friday and will be the first time the tournament will come to Indian soil since 1979.

Head coach Maymol Rocky said, "I am very excited that a tournament of this magnitude will take place in India and I thank the AIFF for bringing the Asian Cup to our country. We have one-and-a-half years to prepare for it and I am sure that we will put on a good show. I hope people will come out to support the team and the girls will do the rest."

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The Indian side is currently ranked 55 in the world, having won gold in its most recent outing at the South Asian Games 2019 in Nepal.

Maymol added, "The girls will get the opportunity to play against the top countries in Asia and fans will get to see the best teams such as Japan, Australia, Korea and China live in the stadium, which will go a long way to develop interest among young girls and parents."

Captain Ashalata Devi, who was among the three nominees for the AFC Women's Player of the Year 2019, said getting to play in the AFC Women's Asian Cup will be a 'dream come true'.

"It was a dream to play in the AFC Asian Cup and now that we are hosting it, I am very happy and excited. It's a huge step for us and the entire continent's eyes will be on us," she said.

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Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan expressed her delight at the 'amazing opportunity' and termed it as a 'huge responsibility' at the same time.

"It is an amazing opportunity for us to prove and show our supporters why they should believe us when we say women's team has the potential to play at the top level. There is now a huge responsibility for us to put forward the image that we want our supporters to have of women's football."

Women's football in India has seen an upward swing in recent years, with the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2020 also set to kick off in February next year.

Maymol feels a few names from the current U-17 team could step up to the senior ranks as well.

"I am confident that some players from the U-17 team will make their way in the senior team when the AFC Asian Women's Cup comes around. The AIFF has been working really hard on this team for over a year now and with this tournament (AFC Asian Women's Cup) also scheduled for 2022, it will certainly be an incentive for the youngsters to look up to after the World Cup," she said.

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Aditi stated that the two events could 'define the future of women's football’ in the country and stressed the importance of continuing the building momentum.

"Women's football in India has gathered good momentum right now because of our recent performances and results and there are a lot more people talking about women's football now more than ever. So, the U-17 World Cup next year and the AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2022 are massive events that can define the future of women's football in India."

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