TN ‘had a very good squad’, says coach

M. Muruhuvendan “had high hopes” from the team that went on to clinch its maiden National championship title.

Many of Tamil Nadu’s players had tasted success leading up to the event, which gave the team a psychological boost, according to coach M. Muruhuvendan.   -  Twitter (@IndianFootball)

A day after the Tamil Nadu women’s football team won its maiden National championship title on Wednesday, team coach M. Muruhuvendan said he had been very optimistic of his team’s chances going into the tournament.

“I had high hopes since we had a very good squad. We had to downsize from 72 players to select a squad of 20. We had experienced players like Indumathi from Tamil Nadu Police who has played in the Asian Games.

“Also, the top three teams in the recently held all-India inter-university football tournament in Gwalior were from Tamil Nadu. So, we had around 15 players from those teams. And around 10 players are from Sethu FC that has qualified from Tamil Nadu to play in the final round of the Indian Women’s League. So, all these, you may say, had given us a psychological boost entering the tournament,” he said on Thursday.

As preparation, the team has had a 12-day camp at the Nehru stadium ‘B’ ground here.

Tamil Nadu was pooled with Sikkim, Goa, and Uttarakhand. It secured comfortable wins over Sikkim (5-0) and Uttarakhand (11-1), and drew with Goa (1-1) in between.

Morale-boosting win over Odisha

According to the team captain M. Nandhini, managing to remain undefeated and post emphatic wins was a big morale boost for the team. However, the coach and the captain said the win versus the home team Odisha (2-0) in the quarterfinals is what made them resolutely believe that the team could clinch the title. “We had watched them (Odisha) play and had planned our strategy accordingly. Simply put, we attacked a lot, pressed hard at the top to keep them under constant pressure,” Nandhini said.

With a surge in confidence, the team beat 17-time runner-up Bengal (4-1) in the semifinal.

Twenty-four year-old Indumathi, the tournament’s top goal-scorer with 10 goals, said the Odisha match was her “toughest” in the tournament.

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