New Delhi, Jun 6 : The Indian women's football team members have expressed their delight at the prospect of playing the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 finals in front of home fans and feel that the mega-event will provide a big boost to the sport in the country. India will host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 finals, the continent's biggest tournament for the first time since 1979.
Head coach Maymol Rocky stated that she is 'very excited' at the pronouncement and sounded confident that the team will put on a 'good show' when the competition arrives.
"I am very excited that a tournament of this magnitude will take place in India and I thank the AIFF for bringing the Asian Cup to our country. We have one-and-a-half years to prepare for it and I am sure that we will put on a good show," Rocky told AIFF website. "People are getting more and more aware of the progress made in women's football in India. "The girls will get the opportunity to play against the top countries in Asia and fans will get to see the best teams such as Japan, Australia, Korea and China live in the stadium, which will go a long way to develop interest among young girls and parents," the coach added.
The Indian side is currently ranked 55 in the world, having won the gold medal in their most recent outing at the South Asian Games 2019 in Nepal and recording draws in friendly games away to Uzbekistan and Vietnam – both of whom are ranked higher. Captain Ashalata Devi, who was among the three nominees for the AFC Women's Player of the Year 2019, said that getting to play in the Asian Cup will be a 'dream come true' moment.
"I would like to thank the AIFF and Women's Committee as they made a lot of efforts to bring the tournament to India. It's a huge step for us and the entire continent's eyes will be on us," the centre-back said. She also highlighted the importance of the tournament to her and the players. "Ever since I have been playing football, I have never shown any of my matches to my mother. I was waiting for the right moment and now in 2022, I want my mother to come and watch me play against Asia's best teams," she said. Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan expressed her delight at the 'amazing opportunity' and termed it as a 'huge responsibility' at the same time.
"It is an amazing opportunity for us to prove and show our supporters why they should believe us when we say women's team has the potential to play at the top level. "There is now a huge responsibility for us to put forward the image that we want our supporters to have of women's football," Chauhan said. Women's football in India has been growing leaps and bounds in recent years and with the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2020 set to kick off in February next year, two mega-events back to back are expected to give a gigantic push to the game. (UNI)