Thomas Dennerby set for India U-17 managerial debut against Sweden

Thomas Dennerby will make his debut as the head coach of the Indian U-17 team when India takes on Sweden in the U-17 Women's Football Tournament on Friday.

Thomas Dennerby was appointed the head coach of India U-17 women's team in November this year.   -  AIFF Media

Thomas Dennerby will make his managerial debut as the Indian U-17 coach when India takes on Sweden in the U-17 Women's Football Tournament in Mumbai on Friday. Dennerby was appointed as the gaffer in November.

Ahead of the opener, he said, "This will be the first match-experience against another country for the team since my arrival. I am hoping to see that the players can produce on the pitch the things that we have been working on in training such as formation, movement etc. We have to make sure that we plan well for the games and that the players are actively looking to do the right things on the field."

Sweden U-17 head coach Pär Lagerström said that he is looking forward to the match, especially given the fact that Dennerby has coached in Sweden. "Of course, Thomas (Dennerby) knows the Sweden way to play extremely well but still I think it's the players that will play. We'll see what happens tomorrow and we're looking forward to the game," he said.

"I have not seen them (India) play before and would like to have a better view of the team. After the tournament, I definitely will. I have talked to Thomas and he said that India has very technical players – fast and different types of players."

Training in Goa

Prior to this competition, the team had been training in Goa under Dennerby and his support staff. Dennerby shared his thoughts on what he has seen so far and said that most players are "doing very good".

He commented: "If you look at the technical skills of the players, in general, most of them are doing very good. Some of them have really good touch of the ball, they have good short passing skills and even long passing.

"If we look at the fitness levels – we probably have a little job to do and we have a good fitness coach taking care of that in the form of Per Karlsson," he added.

'Open offensively, strict defensively' style of play

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The AIFF is keen on laying emphasis on the quality of the opposition for the Indian girls in preparation ahead of next year's U-17 World Cup.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Dennerby also spoke about the style of football he wants to inculcate in the team and stressed on the importance of having a passing game.

"I want us to be more open offensively and very strict defensively. I want us to have a good passing game where the players know which spaces to come into, where you want to attack and when to play the crucial passes. In defence, you have to play as a unit and you have to be compact in order to keep the opposition away from the scoring zones."

A total of 22 players have been picked by Dennerby for the competition, which is being contested with one eye on next year's FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. The Swede added that the door is open for new players as well.

"We are trying to find more players as well and the federation already has a couple of scouts going around. There will be four new girls in the next camp after the new year. If there are more good players, we will call them to the camp and give them a chance. However, I'm sure it will be tough as this current group works really hard," he said.

Sweden, Thailand fixtures a great test

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14-year-old Shilky Devi had led India to victory at the SAFF U-15 Championship in Bhutan earlier this year.   -  AIFF Media

 

Defender Shilky Devi, who accompanied Dennerby at the pre-tournament press conference, said that facing Sweden and Thailand will be a test for India.

"Sweden and Thailand are both very strong teams. The matches against them will be tough but we have worked very hard as a group and are prepared to play them. It's a great opportunity for us to test ourselves and I would like to thank the All India Football Federation for giving us this chance," she said.

"It's really good to get this opportunity and we're looking forward to the tournament. We have been training for three weeks under the new coach and learning and getting better every day," she added.

The tournament begins on Friday with India playing Sweden followed by Thailand on Friday. The top two teams to clash in the final two days later.

The matches will be streamed live on Facebook on the Indian Football Team page.

 

The India probables:

Goalkeepers: Manju Ganjhu, Anshika, Tanu

Defenders: Purnima Kumari, Jyoti Kumari, Nirmala Devi Phanjoubam, Shilky Devi Hemam, Kritina Devi Thounaojam, Nisha, Astam Oraon

Midfielders: Martina Thokchom, Priyangka Devi Naorem, Babina Devi Lisham, Amisha Baxla, Aveka Singh, Kiran, Daisy Crasto, Sunita Munda, Mariyammal Balamurugan

Forwards: Sumati Kumari, Lynda Kom Serto, Sai Sankhe.

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