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Women's football team can compete against 'high-profile opponents': Captain Ashalata Devi
New Delhi, December 3, 2020
Women's football in India has come a long way forward and now we can compete against "high-profile opponents", national team captain Ashalata Devi has said.
According to her, the team's performance has improved because of the exposure matches in recent times that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has arranged to help the team.
"In the last 2-3 years, we have played a lot of exposure matches. When we went to Spain for the COTIF Cup, we played against some high-profile opponents. Playing those high-intensity games has helped us elevate our performance in recent times,” Ashalata told AIFF TV.
She also lauded coach Maymol Rocky for stressing on the importance of strength and conditioning training. The centre-back also pointed out the immediate impact of video analysis, which has also been introduced by the current head coach.
"Firstly, we did not know the importance of strength training but now we understand it. Maymol-ma'am has introduced things like strength training, injury prevention programmes, video analysis and a lot more to help us gauge our mistakes and work on them to move forward together," she said.
"Even during the lockdown, every one of us has stuck to the diet plan and fitness regime that has been provided to us. Once the camp resumes, I hope everyone will be fit enough to get one's game on," said the former AIFF Women's Player of the Year.
She, however, expressed her dismay that there are places in the country where people are unaware of women's football. Back-to-back multi-national women's football tournaments (like FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and AFC Women's Asian Cup, both of which are set to be held in 2022), will increase the interest in women's football.
"The FIFA U-17 World Cup and the AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2022 will help people know about women’s football in India. It will help them recognise the effort AIFF has put in to take women's football forward together," said the captain.
"I want to thank the AlFF and the women’s committee for giving us the opportunities as they have put in a lot of effort for putting this together," Ashalata added.