Indian team arrives for AFC U-19 Women's Championship

The India U-19 team has been clubbed with host Vietnam and a strong Iran in Group D of the AFC Women's Championship and only the Group winner will qualify for the final stage which is to be held next year.

The India U-19 women's team poses with Stephen Constantine.   -  AIFF

The Indian U-19 women’s team landed in Hanoi today for the forthcoming AFC U-19 Women’s Championship which kicks-off from November 2.

India has been clubbed with host Vietnam and a strong Iran in Group D and only the Group winner will qualify for the final stage which is to be held next year.

The girls who left Delhi on Diwali night got a pleasant surprise when they bumped into men's national team coach Stephen Constantine at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Constantine who was on his way to DPR Korea to conduct a FIFA Coaching Course met the girls asking them to “fight.”

“Fight,” he stressed. “Don’t let them dominate you. Show them who you are. Fight on the field. Good luck!”

Head coach Sajid Dar maintained meeting the national coach was a “morale booster” for the squad. “It was such a nice gesture from the national coach to walk up to us and meet the girls. It was the much needed encouragement for the girls and even the support staff – a morale booster. Stephen gave his best wishes and it means a lot.”

The girls, nevertheless, were greeted by a drizzle at Hanoi. The weather forecast predicts rain for the next five days but Sajid isn’t worried. “Yeah, it’s raining. But hopefully it won’t affect us much. The temperatures are more or less similar to what we had in Gandhinagar where we trained for a month,” he quipped.

The Indian contingent is based at the Vietnam Football Federation’s National Training Centre which boasts of accommodation facilities, the pantry, training grounds and even the match ground.

The Indian girls had a light training session late afternoon. “It was an overnight travel for us. We need to settle down fast. We will have another session tomorrow,” Sajid informed.

India first plays Iran on November 2 followed by a match against host Vietnam on November 4.

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