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With good planning & training, U-17 women's team can progress: Priya PV

Published at :August 24, 2023 at 5:23 PM
Modified at :January 13, 2024 at 6:19 PM
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Women’s coach of the year Priya PV has full confidence in her team

In another three weeks’ time, India’s women footballers will be seen in action in different parts of the continent. While the Senior Women’s National team will travel to Hangzhou, China, for the much-awaited Asian Games, the U-17 Women’s team will leave for Thailand for Round 2 of the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers.

The Senior Women’s National Team is currently training in Bhubaneswar under Head Coach Thomas Dennerby. The U-17 women’s team have set camp in Goa since the past week under the watchful eyes of Priya PV.

The Young Tigresses had earned the distinction of making the Thailand trip after they emerged as Group F toppers in Round 1 of the qualifiers held in the Kyrgyz Republic in April. They beat the hosts 1-0 and Myanmar 2-1 to qualify for the second round. They are set to lock horns with hosts Thailand, the Korea Republic and IR Iran in Round 2. 

In a chat with Head Coach Priya PV, who was recently named the AIFF ‘Women’s Coach of the Year’, we discussed her team’s preparations, improvements, team bonding, training strategies and much more. She is confident that Women’s Football in India is making positive strides, citing the example of the senior women’s team’s participation in the Asian Games. She thinks this move is significant and reflects the development and increased visibility of women’s football in the country.

EXCERPTS: 

Question: You have been named the ‘Women’s Coach of the Year’. How do you look at it?

Priya PV: I feel truly honoured and remain grateful to the Federation for this recognition. To me, this is not only a mere award, but a further motivation to work even harder. It has deepened my resolve to give each assignment my hundred percent and work to the best of my ability.

Q: How’s the preparation going for the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Round 2 in Thailand?

PV: It’s going great. The team is working hard in both training and strategies to bring their best performance to the field, with a focussed mind on technique and fitness.

Q: How well have the girls settled in the National Camp?

PV: Well, some of them have come after a lengthy break. So, the fitness of a few players has naturally been impacted. Initially, the practice sessions were slightly difficult with low spirits, but now there is a positive shift in the attitude and it’s definitely going well.

Q: Korea Republic, Thailand and IR Iran – your thoughts on the opponents? 

PV: After a few weeks, we will be entering the arena to play the second round. All the teams who will play in the second round are very strong teams; but I believe that if we plan accordingly and train well, we can make a very good impact and progress accordingly.

Priya PV during a training session (Source: AIFF)

Q: We have performed well in our previous challenge. How difficult do you think the next hurdle will be? 

PV: As I told you, the teams playing in the second round are all strong and they will do their planning after watching the videos of our games. But again, I believe that if we have a good strategy in place and train the players well, we will be able to do well and achieve the best results.

Q: What areas do you think the girls still need to improve on? 

PV: Even though we have our weaknesses, my job is to train and prepare them so they are in their best form. But the areas where we struggle the most are in the goalkeeping department and finding the right strikers. We are working hard on all those areas and I have full confidence in my girls. 

Q: Shilji Shaji is back, and she has been named the ‘AIFF Emerging Player of the Year’. As her coach, how do you look at her performance?

PV: I am proud of what she has achieved. She is a player, who grew up and matured through the Kerala Government Sports Division and I have had the opportunity to coach her as well. I believe this award will motivate her to work harder and reach new heights in her career.

Q: Lastly, the Senior Women’s National team will play the Asian Games next month. Your thoughts? Does this help in the development of women’s football in India?

PV: It’s fantastic news and hugely encouraging. The Senior Women’s Team’s participation in the Asian Games is a significant step forward for Indian women’s football. Women’s football in India is having more visibility and the coaches we have now are doing great work. So, I think that we are very much on the right track and women’s football in India is definitely making the right developments.

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