India women to play Russia, Serbia and Ukraine in exposure trip to Turkey

Indian women’s senior football team to play Russia, Serbia and Ukraine in exposure trip to Turkey, Tamil Nadu’s Indumathi back in squad.

The Indian women’s football team will return to competitive action for the first time in close to a year as it heads to Turkey for a series of international friendlies. The Indian team, ranked 53 in the latest FIFA rankings, will face superior-ranked  Russia (23),Ukraine (24) and Serbia (40).

The tour, which will run from February 14-24, will be held in the resort town of Alanya as the team prepares for the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which is scheduled to be held in India.

FIXTURES:

February 17: India vs Serbia
February 19: India vs Russia
February 23: India vs Ukraine

Confirming the development, Kushal Das, general secretary of the All India Football Federation, told Sportstar, “The Indian team will be playing Ukraine, Serbia and Russia.” Host nation Turkey has expressed its inability to play.

Das added that this was the first of many exposure tours planned for the senior women’s team ahead of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

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The 20-member squad includes Tamil Nadu midfielder Indumathi Kathiresan, who has been away from the competition fold for close to two years. The prolific goal-scorer, who represents Sethu FC, was reportedly denied permission to compete in the Indian Women’s League and international tournaments by her employers, the state police.

However, Sportstar has learnt that the situation has now been resolved and she is free to play for club and country. The 26-year-old had joined the women’s team camp in Goa, which began on December 1.

The shortlist also includes youngsters Sumati Kumari and Kritina Devi, who were earlier chosen to represent India at the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which has since been postponed to 2022.

Full list of players

Goalkeepers: Maibam Linthoingambi (Manipur), Sowmiya Narayanasamy (Tamil Nadu)

Defenders: Loitongbam Ashalata Devi (Railways), Ngangbam Sweety Devi (Manipur), Ritu Rani (Haryana), Sorokhaibam Ranjana Chanu (Manipur), Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi (Manipur), Kritina Devi Thounaojam (Manipur).

Midfielders: Manisha (Punjab), Sangita Basfore (SSB), Sumithra Kamaraj (Tamil Nadu), Pyari Xaxa (Odisha).

Strikers: Anju Tamang (Railways), Indumathi Kathiresan (Tamil Nadu), Soumya Guguloth (Telangana), Dangmei Grace (Manipur), Karishma Purushottam Shirvoikar (Goa), Sandhiya Ranganathan (Tamil Nadu), Heigrujam Daya Devi (Manipur), Sumati Kumari (Jharkhand).