The Indian senior national team will be gunning for its fifth consecutive title when the fifth edition of the SAFF Women's Championship kicks off on Tuesday. This edition will witness a total of six teams taking part, with India scheduled to face the Maldives and Sri Lanka in the group stage on March 13 and 17 respectively.
At the pre-tournament press conference, coach Maymol Rocky expressed confidence in her side."The SAFF Championship has been a successful one for us over the years. This time we will go all out to retain the trophy again," she uttered. When asked about the young players in the squad, the head coach stated that she has full faith in the abilities of her players.
"These youngsters can work magic on the field. They have been together for a long time now and have made a lot of progress in the last few months. With the Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 next month, our objective is to reach our peak at the correct time," she added. Defender Ashalata Devi, who will captain the team in this championship, mentioned about the positive mood in the squad.
"We are all ready for the tournament to begin," she opined. "The spirit in the team is high. We are the defending champions and are confident that we can go all the way," she explained. The Indian team is coming into the tournament after a sixth-place finish in the Turkish Women's Cup, where they played the likes of Romania and Uzbekistan."
The Turkey tour was a vital experience for the girls. We faced some high-quality opponents. It was part of our learning curve," Maymol maintained. India faces the Maldives in their first match on Wednesday at the Sahid Rangsala Stadium in Biratnagar.