Head Coach Maymol Rocky will kick off her senior coaching career with two games against Malaysia…

The Indian Senior Women’s Team arrived in Kuala Lumpur today (July 27) morning to play two back to-back international friendlies against Malaysia.

The first match is slated for July 29 while the second one is to be played on July 31. The Team headed to Kuala Lumpur on the back of a 12-day camp in Delhi.

On the surface the Indian Women’s Team’s back to back international friendlies may seem to be just another regular international series. But there’s a fair bit of history which stays attached as this will be the first time ever that the Indian Women’s Team will be coached by a woman in any international match.

Head Coach Maymol Rocky, the coach in the hotseat describes it as her “biggest achievement.”

“I can’t just express it in words. It’s my greatest achievement. It is an honour and a privilege to be the Head Coach of the Senior Women’s National side,” says Rocky ecstatically. “I know there is pressure on me to perform but ever since I took up coaching, it has always been a dream. The real job starts now,” cautions the former player.

The role is tough and steep but Maymol is up for it. “The AFC Women’s Tutors Course was really helpful. It has really helped me grow as a coach,” she states about the programme held earlier this year. “I got to meet and exchange ideas with coaches from other AFC nations. I want to thank the AIFF for believing in me and finding me suitable for the role,” she adds in a thankful tone.

The players too are excited about the lady in charge. Forward Pyari Xaxa says: “It is really exciting to be able to play under her. She has been an inspiration during my age-group days and now even more, especially to all girls wanting to take up football.”

Jabamani Tudu is happy with the familiarity of things. “I’ve played under Maymol ma’am earlier at the U-16 level. This will be helpful as I know what she expects of me.”

Manipur has been like a factory line supplying players to the Women’s teams and Kashmina is one such product. “Maymol ma’am was with us at the junior level and has helped my game a lot. She is strict but is the perfect guide,” Kashmina opines.

Head Coach Maymol Rocky, the first-ever Woman Coach of an Indian Senior National Team informed that the entire squad is “looking forward to the two matches.”

Also read Women’s Day Special: Dalima Chhibber – Indian Footballer

“The two matches will provide the girls valuable match experience which will help them in the future. An International match adds to your confidence and the entire squad is looking forward to it,” she said.

“I need to thank the AIFF for the two International Friendlies. Women’s Football in India has been on a high with the inaugural edition of the Indian Women’s League being a huge hit earlier this year,” she added. “That has added to the confidence of the girls as well.”

Striker Bala Devi, who has been declared the Captain rated Malaysia as a “strong opponent.”

“They are a strong team. But we need to play better than them, and we will try our best,” she stated. “We have practiced very hard and are raring to go.”

“It’s nice to be training under Maymol-Ma’am. Though there is always that comfort level with her, she has always been a hard task master. But we are not complaining as we understand that she wants us to be better players.”

“The two matches will help us immensely and I need to thank the AIFF for providing us such an exposure tour,” she added.

Meanwhile, Ashalata Devi has been named the vice-captain.

The 22-member squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Panthoi Chanu, Roshini Devi.

Defenders: Ashalata Devi, Manisa Panna, Umapati Devi, Dalima Chhibber, Radharani Devi, Jabamani Tudu, Tony Devi.

Midfielders: Premi Devi, Prameshori Devi, Lochana Munda, Sanju, Mandakini Devi, Ritu Rani, Bindyarani Devi.

Strikers: Bala Devi, Kamala Devi, Anju Tamang, Dangmei Grace, Pyari Xaxa, Kashmina.