AIFF Media Team
THIMPHU (BHUTAN): Ahead of the Indian U-15 Women National Team’s clash against Nepal in the semi-finals of the SAFF U-15 Championship, Head Coach Firmin D’Souza dubbed the bout as “challenging and tough” even after the eves finished top of Group A with two wins out of two matches.
In an exclusive interview, Firmin talks at length about India’s performance in the group stage, the semi-finals, strengths, weaknesses, and a lot more. EXCERPTS:
Will it be difficult to play Nepal in the semi-finals?
Every match is a different challenge. Nepal enjoyed more of the ball against Bangladesh so they will be quite a formidable opponent for us. However, we came to take on such challenges and have prepared accordingly.
The Indian Women topped Group A. What is your assessment of their performance?
We have a very talented group of girls learning very quickly through practice session and demonstrating the same through the matches we have played. I am happy with our team shape and communication.
We came here to win the SAFF Cup and these performances are a good build up towards achieving our target in this tournament.
It was a slow start to the game for the Women against Bhutan.
We still hit the crossbar thrice before scoring. Playing against the hosts in front of hostile crowd made it quiet intimidation for our girls but after those nervy minutes they coped up with the pressure.
We were also testing our squad depth and made five changes to experiment it.
How is the squad shaping up ahead of the semi-finals?
The squad is putting in their hundred percent on the field during training sessions and off the field with team building sessions, good focus on diet and exercise. I think this squad is shaping up very well ahead of the crucial semi final clash.