Mumbai: The Indian women’s U-17 football team will play against Thailand and Sweden in a three-nation international tournament here starting December 13 as part of its preparations for next year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in the country.
The All India Football Federation claimed that the December 13-19 tournament will be the first international competition to be hosted by the country at this age group level.
The tournament is being held under UEFA Assist in collaboration with the Asian Football Confederation.
UEFA Assist is an international programme of the European football governing body that addresses the needs of national associations and confederations outside that continent.
“With the preparations and build-up (for 2020 FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup) in full swing, Mumbai Football Arena will play host the U-17 Women’s Football Tournament 2019 — a first-of-its-kind international tournament for girls that will see India take on Sweden and Thailand, both powerhouses in the global women’s game,” the AIFF said in a statement.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das spoke about the importance of competition as part of the build-up for next year’s U-17 World Cup, laying emphasis on the “quality of opposition” the Indian girls will face.
“It is the first time an international tournament for girls in being hosted in India and I’m really looking forward to it,” Das said.
“With the FIFA World Cup on the horizon this will be a great opportunity for the Indian team to play the likes of Sweden and Thailand. I wish the teams all the best for the competition.
“I also need to thank AFC, UEFA, FSDL, Ministry for Sports and Youth Affairs, and Hero Morocorp for all their help and support.”
India U-17 World Cup coach Thomas Dennerby felt the tournament will “benefit the team immensely”.
“It is very important to play international friendlies against strong opponents. It helps us to learn more about decision making in crunch situations, besides helping us to maintain the pace of the game,” he said.
“The players and all the staff are very much looking forward to the tournament. It is an acid test which was very much needed.”
Sweden ranks as one of the top nations in the world in women’s football, with their senior side finishing third in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France, the AIFF said.
Thailand too are considered one of the top nations in Asia in women’s football, having secured consecutive qualifications in the last two FIFA Women’s World Cups along with a fourth-place finish at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 in Jordan.
Fixtures of 3-nation tournament:
December 13: India vs Sweden; December 15: Sweden vs Thailand; December 17: Thailand vs India; December 19: Final (Group winner vs Group runner-up)
Goalkeepers: Manju Ganjhu, Anshika, Tanu; Defenders: Purnima Kumari, Jyoti Kumari, Nirmala Devi Phanjoubam, Shilky Devi Hemam, Kritina Devi Thounaojam, Nisha, Astam Oraon; Midfielders: Martina Thokchom, Priyangka Devi Naorem, Babina Devi Lisham, Amisha Baxla, Aveka Singh, Kiran, Daisy Crasto, Sunita Munda, Mariyammal Balamurugan; Forwards: Sumati Kumari, Lynda Kom Serto, Sai Sankhe.