Unbeaten in 19 matches from the last four editions, defending champions India reached the Himalayan nation of Nepal on Sunday, March 10 for the forthcoming SAFF Women’s Championships 2019, where coach Maymol Rocky’s side will be aiming to clinch their fifth title in a row.
The Indian eves have been drawn in Group B in the six-team competition alongside Maldives and Sri Lanka while hosts Nepal have been placed in Group A with Bangladesh, and Bhutan.
The matches will be held at the Sahid Rangsala in Biratnagar, a city located close to the Indian state of Bihar.
India have a strong record in the competition having won all four editions so far – the first of which came in in 2010, and have claimed victory in each and every match they have played so far in the tournament – a streak which extends to 19 matches.
For coach Rocky, the tournament will be the last opportunity to fine tune her team for the crucial 2020 Olympic Qualifiers Round 2, which is slated to be held in Myanmar from April 1-9.
“The SAFF Women’s Championship has always been a successful tournament for India in the past. We are confident of going all the way and making it five trophies in a row,” she stated.
She added: “The girls have been together for a good amount of time now. We have been able to test them out in match conditions, both in India and abroad. This championship is another chance to assess the players before the Olympic Qualifiers Round 2, and also pick up some silverware, which will certainly be a big boost for the team.”
Midfielder Indumathi Kathiresan, who scored in the final of the 2016 edition against Bangladesh, echoed her coach’s sentiments and said that the team will leave no stone unturned.
She said: “We are fully prepared for the tournament. The mood in the team is positive and we are raring to go for our games.”
India’s fixtures are as follows:
March 13: India vs Maldives
March 17: India vs Sri Lanka
March 20: Semifinals
March 22: Final.
Linthoingambi Devi, Aditi Chauhan, Sowmiya Narayanasamy
Jabamani Tudu, Sweety Devi, Ashalata Devi, Dalima Chhibber, Michel Castanha, Lako Bhutia
Ranjana Chanu, Dangmei Grace, Sanju Yadav, Ratanbala Devi, Sumithra Kamaraj, Sangita Basfore, Indumathi Kathiresan
FORWARDS: Anju Tamang, Roja Devi, Manisha, Sandhiya Ranganathan
Maymol Rocky (Head Coach)