Maymol Rocky lauds Indian women’s football team's progress

Maymol Rocky, coach of the Indian women’s football team, says her side has made tremendous progress in the last two years.

Maymol Rocky

The Indian women's football team, coached by Maymol Rocy, is currently ranked 55th in the world.   -  Twitter @IndianFootball

Maymol Rocky, coach of the Indian women’s national football team, says her side has made tremendous progress over the last two years.

“Our journey has just started,” Maymol, who was appointed head coach in 2017, said. She was speaking in an international virtual conference organised by the All India Football Federation.

“Thanks to the increased support from the AIFF and Government of India the women’s team has made tremendous progress in the last two years. We made plans -- both short and long-term -- for which we have received the best possible backing in every way,” she added.

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The Indian women’s team reached the second round of the Olympic qualifiers for the first time in November 2018. Terming that as a “turning point”, Maymol talked about how her team went on to play multiple tournaments in 2019 and the positive impact it has had.

“Since the last two years, we have built a strong unit, with a majority of players being very young. We have got a lot of exposure -- more camps, more matches and more preparation time.

“We have played many competitive matches against higher-ranked oppositions. None of the players had played as many games as they did in 2019,” she said.

“Our first camp was almost four months and we were provided with all the necessary facilities and equipment, such as good hotel stay, good training pitch and specially-designed kits for women players,” she added.

The Indian team's 2019 campaign began with friendlies against Hong Kong and Indonesia, where the side secured four wins from as many matches. This was followed by the four-nation Hero Gold Cup in Bhubaneswar and a tournament in Turkey where the side faced Romania.

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In March, India won the SAFF championship for the fifth time after beating the host, Nepal, 3-1. The side also came close to getting past the second round of the Olympic qualifiers, before losing out on goal difference to Myanmar despite an unbeaten campaign with two wins and a draw.

The Indian team then finished second runner-up at the COTIF Cup in Spain and played two away friendlies each against higher-ranked Uzbekistan and Vietnam, after which it successfully defended its South Asian Games gold medal in Nepal.

Last year the team moved up to the 57th spot on the FIFA ranking and has further improved to 55 in March this year.

With women’s football being the central theme, Japanese U-18 women’s team assistant coach Yuiko Konno made a presentation on the ‘Pathway to reach the top & steps taken to sustain’ by the Japan Football Association.

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Japan remains the only nation to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup in all three categories.

“Talking about how the Japan national team reached the top and sustain its position, there is no magic formula or secret. What we have been doing is very simple,” she said.

Yuiko highlighted the four factors of Japan's development plan -- player development, national team, coach education and grassroots football.

“We place significant emphasis on these four factors. They are closely related to each other and we always think of them as one unit,” she added.

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