The India U-17 women’s team will take on their counterparts from Imabari JFA Academy in the first match of their exposure tour to Spain. The match is set to kick off tomorrow (Monday, September 25, 2022) at IST 2.30 pm in the Soccerland, Catalunya, Spain.
After their camp in Bhubaneswar, the tour will serve as part of the team’s preparations for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup which will start from October 11, 2022. A day prior to the match in Spain, Head Coach Thomas Dennerby spoke at length about the challenges, the preparations and how much the exposure tour will help the girls before the U-17 World Cup. EXCERPTS:
Your assessment on preparations of the team?
I am happy with the preparations so far and I am proud of the girls. They have been working very hard for more than six months now – 10 to 12 sessions a week, including football, zoom and running sessions. I think we have reached a new level.
Your thoughts on the Spain tour. How important are the games for these girls?
I am happy to have the opportunity to play these matches. It will mostly be a 10-day camp in Spain and the focus is on the games now. Most of these girls are very young, they don’t have much experience in playing important games. It’s necessary to play against good opponents and it is crucial for us to have these games before the World Cup. Hopefully, it will boost the confidence of the girls.
How much the girls have improved from the last tour in Italy?
When we look at the girls now, we think we are at a higher level. And this is the biggest reason we wanted to come and camp in Spain to play international games. It will give us the answer if we are close enough and ready to beat tough opponents. My personal feeling is we are at the top level and after the games here we will analyse and see if I am right or wrong.
You have been there for some time with the girls, what are their strengths and weaknesses?
We are well organised and have a good fitness level. The fitness level won’t be a problem. We have good sessions of defending so it will be hard to score on us but we still have to utilise our chances on the pitch. We are playing at a higher tempo and higher pace than before. Meanwhile, we are working on our attacking side as well as on some small technical details, which require attention at this moment. But we feel we are on the right track.
Source : AIFF
Report : Pratyusha Mukherjee