‘We need not be afraid of any opponent,’ says Thomas Dennerby

Women’s team coach Dennerby says he has been able to identify the nucleus

The Indian women’s football team has reached a stage where it should not be afraid of any opponent, feels the National head coach Thomas Dennerby.

The experienced Swede, who took charge of the senior team in August, made his assessment ahead of the team’s trip for an international tournament in Manaus, Brazil, later this month.

The team, which is targeting a good outing at the Asian Cup scheduled to be played early next year in India, has been shaping up well under Dennerby at its base at the Tata Steel complex in Jamshedpur.

The team notched up some successful results during the trips last month to Dubai, Bahrain and Sweden. The best performance came against the former Asian champion Chinese Taipei, which it beat by a solitary goal.

“We are reaching a level where we need not be afraid of any of our opponents in the Asian Cup. When we beat Chinese Taipei last month and I was not surprised. I want the players to believe in themselves and come out strong as a proud Indian team in every match,” Dennerby told The Hindu.

“On the fitness level we are now touching the stage of high intensity running. It is the stage where the teams reach the higher sprint zone that helps in speeding up the game. All these help in better decision-making and greater technical perfection that is needed when facing teams high up in the world ranking,” Dennerby said about the current status of India’s preparation.

The coach said that preparations have reached a level where he is able to identify the nucleus of the team. “We have been able to identify 15 players as the key performers and among them there are eight or nine who will make the starting 11. We are still working with some positions now and are hopeful of getting the best players in each position before the Asian Cup,” he said.

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