At least 10 games required before AFC Asian Cup: Dennerby
Newly-appointed Indian women's football coach Thomas Dennerby on Saturday said the team needs to play at least 10 international matches against opponents with diverse playing styles in the run-up to the AFC Asian Cup. Dennerby, who was earlier in charge of the Indian U-17 women's World Cup squad, was last month roped in to help the senior team prepare for the AFC Asian Cup.
Asian Cup will run from January 20-February 6 next year
The AFC Asian Cup will be hosted in the country from January 20 to February 6 next year. "It is very important for us to play 11-13 matches before the tournament (AFC Asian Cup) starts. The federation is working very hard trying to help us, we know about the situation with coronavirus," Dennerby said during a virtual media interaction.
Team is currently in Jamshedpur for the preparatory camp
"It's important to us to play not less than 10 games before the tournament and we need to play different opponents with different playing styles," he added. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has struggled to find an opponent due to the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions in various countries. The team is currently gathered in Jamshedpur for the preparatory camp, leading to the continental event.
Hard for AIFF to find attractive opponents to play: Dennerby
"It is tough for us to find opponents, countries which allow us to come. In some countries, India is still red marked. It's hard for the federation to find attractive opponents to play. But I know they are doing everything they can," Dennerby said.
It is vital the Indian team plays diverse opponents: Dennerby
Dennerby said it is vital the Indian team plays diverse opponents. "The FIFA window opens tomorrow but so far we have no confirmation of a game. We need to play some teams which are a little bit weaker to implement attacking ideas and (need) some games against equal teams," he said. "It's also important to find opponents who are a little better," he added.
Target is to reach quarterfinals of the continental showpiece: Dennerby
Dennerby said the target is to reach the quarterfinals of the continental showpiece. "We have a good squad and different types of players. We have good defenders," he said. Talking about the preparation, Dennerby said, "We have been in the camp for about three and a half weeks now. A normal week for us is 11 sessions, the girls are working very hard."
We are trying to increase the work load gradually: Dennerby
"It's only five and a half months for the AFC women's championship. We have a long time plan and we can't do everything in the first week. We can't overload the work, we are trying to increase the load gradually," he added.