Maymol Rocky was an exasperated person Tuesday night. The crushing 1-3 defeat against Nepal in the SAFF U-20 Women’s Championship that effectively threw India U-20 Women’s team out of the competition, left her wondering what exactly went wrong for the pre-tournament favourites.
But then, it wasn’t that the India Head Coach was unaware of the ground realities. She sounded forthright when she said: “The lack of passion to score on the field cost us dear.”
“It is sad that the best team (India) in the tournament could not make the finals. We never expected this outcome. I believe the aggression to score and win a match was missing somewhere,” Maymol said.
In the match on Tuesday, India had their moments early in the encounter and took the lead in the 21st minute through Apurna Narzary, but it was the Nepal colts who restored parity in the 48th minute, and then they scored from the penalty in the 69th minute to take the lead. They struck another in the 89th minute to make it 3-1.
“It’s the small mistakes that always lead to such results and affect the team. It was no different during our match either. The penalty we conceded proved to be the game-changer. It’s all about how focused you are when you have the ball with you.”
“Nepal were a strong side. They performed, scored and finally won the match. It was a really heartbreaking and unexpected result for us,” Maymol added.
India started the SAFF U-20 Women’s Championship campaign with a resounding victory against Bhutan (12-0) and then drew against Bangladesh in their next encounter. They were two points away from playing the final at the Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Dhaka on March 9, but it didn’t happen the way the fans expected.
“Everyone came prepared to win the tournament, but on a given day, you have to perform. Our girls gave their best in the last two games against Bhutan and Bangladesh but somehow couldn’t play against Nepal and we had to suffer the loss,” Maymol pointed out.
“These girls are talented, but they have to work a lot harder if they want to succeed in their football careers. Discipline, determination, and passion have to be there,” she added.
The India U-20 Women’s Team will resume training at Chennai as they prepare for their upcoming AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers next month. Maymol said, “We all are going back with a heavy heart and we need to work on many areas. I hope the girls understand that no tournament is easy and they need the necessary aggression to win a match.”