AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: India Women's National team captain Ashalata Devi feels women's football in India has come a long way forward where they can compete against "high-profile opponents". The centre-back also feels their performance has improved because of the exposure matches in recent times that the All India Football Federation has arranged to help the team.
"In the last 2-3 years, we have played a lot of exposure matches. When we went to Spain for the COTIF Cup, we played against some high-profile opponents. Playing those high-intensity games have helped us elevate our performance in recent times,” Ashalata said on AIFF TV.
"I want to thank the All India Football Federation and the women’s committee for giving us the opportunities as they have put in a lot of effort for putting this together," Ashalata praised the apex body.
She mentioned the importance of strength and conditioning training, which have been added to the regime of late by coach Maymol Rocky. The former AIFF Women's Player of the Year highlighted the immediate impact of video analysis, which has also been introduced by the current head coach.
"Firstly, we did not know the importance of strength training but now we understand it. Maymol-ma'am has introduced things like strength training, injury prevention programmes, video analysis and a lot more to help us gauge our mistakes and work on them to move forward together," she stated.
"Even during the lockdown, every one of us has stuck to the diet plan and fitness regime that has been provided to us. Once the camp resumes, I hope everyone will be fit enough to get one's game on," said the Indian Women’s National Team captain.
She lamented that there are places in the country where people are unaware of women's football. Back-to-back multi-national women's football tournaments (like FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and AFC Women's Asian Cup, both of which are set to be held in 2022) will increase the interest in women's football.
"The FIFA U-17 World Cup and the AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2022 will help people know about women’s football in India. It will help them recognise the effort AIFF has put in to take women's football forward together," said Ashalata.