Indian women’s football team gears up for AFC qualifiers

Ramallah, May 20 (IANS) High on confidence after notching up a double-win over Bahrain in two international friendlies in the latter’s own backyard, the Indian women’s football team will look to carrying on the good form for the AFC Asian Cup (Qualifiers) starting here Tuesday.

The 23-member squad and officials reached here Sunday afternoon. A large posse of local journalists and photographers mobbed the team upon their arrival. There was also a decent crowd gathered to watch the arrival of the SAFF Champions.

“Palestine is a beautiful place and we are overwhelmed by such warm reception. We hope to play good football here and qualify for the finals. We had two decent games in Bahrain and the girls are motivated. It is a tough group, one that can be called the group of death. We have to put our best foot forward. It is serious business from here on,” coach Anadi Barua told reporters here.

“This is the most important tournament for us. If we play to our potential we can definitely be the team to progress to the next level,” India captain Tuli Goon opined.

Midfielder Amoolya Kamal added: “I feel so proud. We were greeted wonderfully here. Palestine seems a lovely place. At the same time I also feel responsible. The country is pinning their hopes on us. We have to do it for them.”

India open their account against Myanmar Tuesday followed by Chinese Taipei Thursday (May 23) and hosts Palestine Saturday (May 25).

India are in Group D.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Okram Roshini Devi, Tikina Samal, Usha Rani Das.

Defenders: Ashem Romi Devi, Loitongbam Ashalata Devi, Suprava Samal, Gurumayum Radharani Devi, Tuli Goon, Lako Phuti Bhutia, Ansha.

Midfielders: Yumnam Kamala Devi, Yumlembam Premi Devi, Supriya Routray, Amoolya Kamal, Dangmei Grace, Oinam Bembem Devi, Sasmita Malik, Paromita.

Forwards: Irom Prameshwori Devi, Salam Rinaroy Devi, Jyoti Ann Burrett, Ngangom Bala Devi, Pinky Bompal Magar.

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