Monday , October 3 2022

India Women’s Suren Chettri: We respect Pakistan, but are not fearful!

High on morale, the defending champions, the Blue Tigresses open their encounter against Pakistan in the SAFF Women’s Championship in Kathmandu tomorrow, September 7.

A day prior, Head Coach Suren Chettri spoke at length about the challenges, the match against Pakistan, the preparation, the rivals, an unique record, and much more.

How do you assess the opening encounter against Pakistan?

Pakistan are just like any other team for us. As always, we are not taking them lightly. They have some good overseas players in their squad. There’s no reason not to be cautious. We respect them, but are not fearful.

The Blue Tigresses have won the SAFF title five times. Can it be six in a row?

Nowadays, every country is taking the competition very seriously, and come well prepared. Surely, it won’t be a cakewalk for any. But we are prepared. We need to take our chances that come in our way. That stays the key. The onus is on us. We have a huge challenge in front of us – to maintain the unbeaten record. India are unbeaten for 26 matches in the competition. That’s a unique record.

The team has a mixture of senior and younger players. How does that work?

The youngsters are the future of the country. I’m sure they will do justice to their positions. Looking ahead this is a major competition for them, as it’s always a learning curve. There are players who have played SAFF Championships before. I feel they will pass their experiences to the younger ones. We need to get off to a good start.

How has the team acclimatized? 

We had two training sessions after we landed in Kathmandu. The girls are motivated. I’m confident they will perform their best, and make the country proud.

Bembev Devi, who had earlier played in the SAFF Women’s Championships is the assistant coach of the team. Will this have an impact on the players?

We all look up to her. She serves as a motivational factor for the team. She is herself such an iconic player, a Padma Shri Awardee. I expect the girls to learn every bit from her, and apply it in their game.

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