The Indian women’s football team has begun its training camp in Goa.
On Tuesday, the women’s team assembled for training for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic halted all sporting activities in March.
Head coach Maymol Rocky has called up a 30-member-strong squad for the camp, including big names like Aditi Chauhan, Ashalata Devi and Dangmei Grace.
“The girls have not played football for almost nine months. They are all excited to join the camp. We haven't seen the women's team playing for a long time,” Maymol Rocky told the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The 45-day-long training camp is being held in a bio-secure environment under an exhaustive Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) prescribed by the Indian senior national team doctor.
“The safety of the players and support staff comes first and we'll not take any chances on that. The protocols are in place and every single step will be taken in adherence to that,” explained Rocky.
After winning the gold medal at the South Asian Games in 2019, the Indian eves have their eyes set on bigger tournaments, particularly the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup to be hosted by India.
“The AFC Women's Asian Cup is the biggest tournament that India women's senior national team will be playing in years. We competed in Olympic qualifiers but the AFC Women's Asian Cup is a different ball game altogether,” Rocky stated.
Although there’s still over a year left for the big-ticket event, Maymol Rocky admits that going head-to-head against the Asian heavyweights will be a challenge and the team needs all the preparatory time it can get.
“We all are excited but there lies a huge responsibility in terms of delivering on the pitch. We've to be at the top of our preparations so that we can compete from the get-go.
“Although we still have a year or more, the preparation is a long-term process and competing with the likes of Asian's superpowers will be a massive task,” Rocky noted.
Here’s the full list of players called up for the camp:
Goalkeepers: Aditi Chauhan, Elangbam Panthoi Chanu, Maibam Linthoingambi Devi, Narayanasamy Sowmiya
Defenders: Asem Roja Devi, Jabamani Tudu, Loitongbam Ashalata Devi, Ngangbam Sweety Devi, Ritu Rani, Sorokhaibam Ranjana Chanu, Michel Margaret Castanha, Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi, Pakpi Devi Yumlembam
Midfielders: Grace Hauhnar Lalrampari, Manisha, Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi, Sangita Basfore, Karthika Angamuthu, Sumithra Kamaraj, Kashmina, Pyari Xaxa
Forwards: Jyoti, Anju Tamang, Dangmei Grace, Karishma Purushottam Shirvoikar, Sandhiya Ranganathan, Renu, Jyoti, Soumya Guguloth, Heigrujam Daya Devi
Head coach: Maymol Rocky