Women’s football: India to play two friendlies against Uzbekistan

The matches will be part of preparations for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2022 qualifiers.

The matches will be a good opportunity to see where the team stands ahead of the Asian Cup 2022 Qualifiers coming up, says Maymol Rocky.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

The Indian women’s football team will play two friendly matches against Uzbekistan as part of its preparations for the AFC Asian Cup 2022 qualifiers. Both matches will be played at the Yakkasary Stadium, Tashkent, on August 29 and September 2.

The 29-member squad has started training at the preparatory camp here.

Maymol Rocky, the head coach, described the forthcoming double-header as a “good opportunity” to see where the team stands. “With the qualifiers for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 coming up, the matches against Uzbekistan will be an important step in our preparation,” she said.

Valuable exposure

Referring to the series of matches played by the women’s team in the first half of the year, she said, “The exposure for the team has been unprecedented, and valuable. Playing against so many international opponents does wonders. The players have more self-belief at the moment as they have now adept in playing against a variety of oppositions. It has improved the players, both on and off the pitch,” Maymol said.

At the start of the year, the Indian team played two away friendlies apiece against Hong Kong and Indonesia. This was followed by the inaugural Hero Gold Cup that took place in Bhubaneswar, where the team played Myanmar, Nepal and Iran. After that, the team competed against Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Romania and Kazakhstan in the Turkish Women’s Cup.

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The Indian team travelled to Nepal in March and successfully defended the SAFF Women’s Championship title, defeating the host 3-1 in the final. In the 2020 Olympic Qualifiers, the team defeated Indonesia and Nepal before playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw against host Myanmar to bow out on goal difference.

‘Raring to go’

“After the COTIF Cup, the girls are raring to go. They look fresh. There are a few new players who have been called up. So we’re looking forward to getting them to see how they perform,” Maymol stated.