India take on Uzbekistan in Turkish Women’s Cup opener
NEW DELHI, 26th Feb: The Indian women’s football team may have lost 7-1 to Uzbekistan in the 2017 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup qualifiers, but Ashalata Devi, who was a member of that side, believes the result will be different when the two face each other in the opening game of the 2019 Turkish Women’s Cup in Alanya on Wednesday.
“We have developed and evolved into better players by leaps and bounds. We also have tested ourselves against tough opponents and there is no doubt that if we play to the best of our abilities, we can beat Uzbekistan, she said, adding: “It will be a tough match for us but we are prepared for them. We stunned Iran as well (in the Hero Gold Cup) and we have the capacity to defeat some of the best teams if we play to our strengths.”
The Indian women are preparing for the second round of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers in April, where they are drawn in Group A with host Myanmar, Indonesia and Nepal, which will host the South Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship in March.
Dubbing the clash with Uzbekistan a litmus test, head coach Maymol Rocky said, “Uzbekistan are one of the top teams of Asia and it will be a challenge to face them. They are strong on the counter and we will have to be at our 100 per cent to beat them.”
“The Hero Gold Cup was a good opportunity for us to test our permutations and combinations strategically against quality opponents and we will look to do the same in the Turkish Cup with an aim of creating a final iteration as we proceed to the Olympic qualifiers,” he added.
After Uzbekistan, India will face Turkmenistan and Romania.