India Team arrive in Dhaka for U19 SAFF Women’s Championship

Dhaka, Jan 31 (UNI) India U19 Women’s Team arrived in the Bangladesh capital on Tuesday evening to play the SAFF U19 Women’s Championship 2024 from February 2 to 8.

Bhutan, Nepal and hosts Bangladesh are the other three participating teams.

The experience of the Indian U19 team in the same championship and at the same venue three years ago wasn’t too pleasant. The team then departed from Bangladesh with a sombre expression, having lost the final by a solitary goal against the hosts.

However, on Tuesday evening, the Young Tigresses arrived in Bangladesh with unwavering confidence and a positive mindset, with the singular purpose of taking the trophy home this time.

As the players collected their belongings from the conveyor belt, an air of excitement enveloped them. Laughter echoed, smiles adorned their faces, and some stood proudly above the luggage trolley and waved before boarding the bus for the designated team hotel.

Head coach Sukla Dutta, a prominent international during her playing days in the 1980s, wore a pampered smile on her face as her wards exited the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. But she turned serious when asked about her team’s prospects in the tournament.

“We had a camp in Goa before coming here. But it wasn’t a long one. We are here after 15 days of training. Yet, I am confident my girls will perform well in the SAFF Championship. They’re good and they have a lot of qualities,” said the coach, who has eight international goals to her credit.

Dutta was quick to point out the positive side of the team, too. “The majority of the players in this team are from the earlier U17 batch. One good thing is that before joining the camp in Goa, most of these girls were busy playing in the ongoing IWL.”

“So, they remained very much in practice and were playing matches. It will help because I don’t have to explain much about the technical and tactical parts. My main focus would be to tighten the unity of the team and work on the combination on the pitch,” she said.

As the team reached the hotel and the players retired to their rooms, the coach and her support staff got busy chalking out the training plans for Wednesday. The battle is yet to begin, but the line of action needs to be laid out in earnest.

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