Brazil in sight, but Asian Cup preparation remains primary focus for Indian Women’s Team

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New Delhi: Day two in Brazil, and the Indian Women’s Team is settling into the rhythm of being halfway across the world, to play against some of the best on the planet.

Still struggling to adjust to the time difference despite putting in enough sleeping hours on the long flight, the Indian Women’s Team understand that they need to have their sights now firmly set on the three matches ahead – Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela.

As the hours pass by, the excitement of being in Brazil to play football slowly transforms into quiet determination, a mindset that the team has developed over the years as they prepare for the big matches. Brazil is a big team with big names, but the ultimate goal of the Indian Women’s Team remains the same – to have the best preparation, going into the AFC Asian Cup next year.

“Brazil are, of course, a very big side. They have so much experience of playing tough opposition, and I’m sure they are going to play at a high level. It will be a good experience to carry this experience into the Asian Cup, and we will use this experience to push forward together,” said midfielder Indumathi Kathiresan.

The Indian Women’s Team has already played across six different countries in 2021 – Turkey, Serbia, Uzbekistan, UAE, Bahrain, and Sweden. With Brazil set to be the seventh country where they set foot on the turf, goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan weighed in about the importance of playing such matches to prepare for big tournaments.

“I think these international matches are very helpful to the team. Not only to be able to play alongside each other but also to understand each other. In the past as well we have gained a lot of experience, and we are looking forward to the same in the upcoming ones in Brazil,” Aditi said.

Be it Chinese Taipei, or Tunisia, or Dhurgardens, or indeed Brazil, the ultimate aim for the team remains the same – using these matches as a launchpad to prepare for the AFC Asian Cup, which will be held in India next year.

“Just the opportunity to travel to different countries and play against teams will help us reflect on our performances individually and as a team. They also help us work towards our goals and to be aware of what needs to be worked on, the areas we need to improve, heading into the Asian Cup,” Indumathi added.

Defender Dalima Chhibber is one player who has had the opportunity to play in the Western Hemisphere in recent times, and she believes that all the three matches will be played at an extremely fast pace.

“I’ve had the experience of sharing the field with players from South America when I had played in Canada. I can tell you that players from this part of the world are extremely skillful, and the teams tend to play at a very fast pace,” Chhibber informed.

“They have a lot of experienced players as well, but we will be going ahead to put our best foot forward. We are preparing for something big – if we do well in the Asian Cup, we can qualify for the World Cup as well. So the focus remains on that.”

Fixtures:

  • November 26: Brazil vs India, 6.30 AM IST kick-off.
  • November 29: India vs Chile, 2.30 AM IST kick-off.
  • December 2: India vs Venezuela, 2.30 AM IST kick-off.
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