AFC Women’s Asian Cup a Massive Task Ahead of Us: Winger Sanju Yadav

Indian women’s football team winger Sanju Yadav said on Sunday that her side had a “massive task” on hand as it prepares for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup to be hosted in India from January 2022 onwards. The Indian women’s team has gathered here for its preparatory camp leading to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup and Sanju said that she was “elated” to be back in the camp after a long injury break. “Being back in the camp feels absolutely great. Personally, I am even more elated as I am back after a long injury. But we are all aware of the massive task ahead of us, to get ready for the Asian Cup,” said Sanju.

“Everyone is motivated, and our new coach Thomas Dennerby has also been very helpful on and off the pitch. He has experience of coaching at the highest level, and we’re all looking forward to learning as much as we can from him,” she added.

Indian women’s team captain Ashalata Devi said, “Keeping in mind the current pandemic situation in the world it’s not easy to set up such camps for any sporting events. We are extremely thankful that the Jharkhand Government and AIFF (All India Football Federation) have come together to arrange this camp for the team. We can only hope to move forward together in our preparation for the Asian Cup.”

The Indian women had earlier travelled twice to international exposure tours in Turkey and Uzbekistan wherein they played the likes of Uzbekistan, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and other teams earlier this year.

The women’s team has a new head coach in Thomas Dennerby. Dennerby has an experience of over 30 years in coaching several national squads with much success. The UEFA Pro Diploma holder had guided Sweden’s women’s national team to a third-place finish in the FIFA World Cup in 2011, and a quarterfinal spot in the 2012 London Olympics.

He also served as the head coach of the Nigerian women’s national team wherein he coached the Super Falcons to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. He also helped the Nigerian women win the AWCON Award 2018, and was awarded the ‘2018 Coach of the Year’ in Nigeria.

Midfielder Sangita Basfore feels the women’s team is “one big family”.

“We are like one big family. We can now shift focus to preparing for the Asian Cup, and I can guarantee that everyone is highly motivated. We are all very thankful to the Jharkhand Government for hosting us in Jamshedpur,” said Sangita.

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