Women’s Asia Cup qualifiers: Indian women’s football team ready to stun the big guns

Excerpts from Indian women football team coach Sajid Dar’s conversation with AIFF on the Indian women football team’s preparedness, opponent DPR Korea, the chilly weather in Pyongyang and India’s chances of a positive result in the tournament.

The Indian women’s football team at the Pyongyang airport.   -  AIFF Media

Indian women’s football team head coach Sajid Dar exuded confidence ahead of India’s opening match in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup against host DPR Korea at the the Kim Jun-II Stadium in Pyongyang on Monday.

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In an interview with to the AIFF website, Dar said the Indian eves “need to ensure their competitiveness against tougher opponents.” The Indian team, currently ranked 56th in the FIFA rankings, will be playing higher ranked teams in its bid for a place in the 2018 AFC Women’s Asia Cup.

Excerpts from Sajid Dar’s conversation with AIFF on the Indian women football team’s preparedness, opponent DPR Korea, the chilly weather in Pyongyang and India’s chances of a positive result in the tournament.

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Question: How is the morale in the squad?

Answer: The morale in the squad is very high. We have been drawn in a very tough group and the Players know that. They also know that they will face some of the best teams in the world and hence are geared up for the challenge, to give the best a run for their money.

What can we expect from the Indian Team?

Their best, and their 100 percent. The players are aware of the challenge and we are relying on the underdog card to stun some of the best Teams in the World.

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How well has the team acclimatized to the weather?

It is cold in Pyongyang as compared to the weather in India right now. We had some training sessions, which were engineered keeping in mind the acclimatization process. Although weather does not play an important factor once you are on the pitch, it can become a mental block that we wish to avoid.

What are your thoughts on India’s opponent DPR Korea?

It will be an uphill battle to face the hosts in the first match itself. They are one of the best teams in Asia and they will have home advantage. They are very good going forward and equally good in defending. It will be a challenge for our players, but we are working hard and working on our technicality to overcome the challenge.

DPR Korea are a team which don’t seem to have any weakness. They have a solid defence and a fluent attack. We aim to depend on our ability to play as a team and focus less on individual skill to give them a fight.

DPR Korea is one of the strongest teams in the world. Is India mentally prepared for the challenge?

When you represent your Country, it is not about I; rather it is about us. We rely on the spirit of unity and our ability to play as a team. We know that it will be a very intimidating atmosphere in the Stadium as well because we face the hosts in our first game and it will be a stern test of character for the girls.

But mentally we are there. We have been working hard both on and off the pitch and the players want to give their best on the pitch.