The women will play Pakistan, Nepal and the hosts in the group stages of the tournament.
Just about an hour’s journey from the bustling city of Bangkok, the India U-19 Women’s team made their way to the quieter town of Chonburi. Chonburi is better known as the ‘City of Water’ — with its beaches and lakes.
However, for the U-19 girls, here in Chonburi for the AFC U-19 Qualifiers, it will be more a matter of fighting for their country’s pride rather than enjoying the scenic water bodies of Chonburi. The young eves are set to take part in the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship qualifiers (first round) this week and are raring to go after arriving in the city.
“It’s definitely great to be in a town like Chonburi for the AFC qualifiers,” said head coach Alex Ambrose. “Away from the hustle and bustle of a big city like Bangkok, we can concentrate on our game and try to get the desired results.”
India have been placed in Group B of the qualifiers, alongside Nepal, arch-rivals Pakistan, and hosts Thailand. Ambrose stressed the importance of playing against top quality teams like Thailand in order to improve the Indian girls.
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“I’ve seen how the Thailand team plays. Very honestly I’ve been amazed by their style of play. They are so comfortable on the ball. It is clear that they have all been playing the game from a very young age,” said the Indian coach.
“It’s always an advantage for the coaches if your players are that comfortable on the ball. When that is the case, you can always try different tactics,” he said.
“It’s important for us to play teams like these. These are the matches where we can learn what are the things that we can improve on. Of course, results are important, but at the junior level, what the players learn is of paramount importance,” said Ambrose.
“Our girls really need to push themselves, when we play Thailand. That will probably be our toughest match in this outing.”
India U-19 Matches:
October 24: India vs Pakistan
October 26: India vs Nepal
October 28: India vs Thailand