Women's Football
New talents and fresh faces are need of the hour in women’s football, says coach Chaoba Devi
21 May 2024

Sruti Chakraborty
AIFF Media Team

NEW DELHI: The Indian Senior Women's National Team will play two international friendlies against Uzbekistan in Tashkent on May 31 and June 4, 2024. They were last seen in action in the Turkish Women’s Cup in February 2024, where they finished runners-up. 

Since then, all the players have had a busy schedule on the domestic front, mainly playing in the Indian Women's League (IWL) and the Senior National Women's Championship. Now, they are back in the National Camp for the international matches in the FIFA Window.

The Blue Tigresses have been training in Hyderabad for the past two days, with several young players joining the National camp for the first time. Head Coach Langam Chaoba Devi spoke to the-aiff.com from Hyderabad about the new player call-ups, the ongoing training camp, and the challenges ahead in Uzbekistan.


Question: Coach, you have called up many young new faces in the camp. Is there a specific reason behind the move?

Chaoba Devi: Yes, we have brought in some young new players. The reason is simple, we have to think about the future. There is absolutely no doubt that senior players like Ashalata Devi, Anju Tamang, Manisha, or Pyari Xaxa are valuable assets to the National Team. But we also need young talents from across the country to emerge as future stars.

I am trying to bring in new faces and provide them with the necessary international football experience. This exposure is crucial for the future of Indian football. I need three more Dalimas, three Ashalatas, three Anjus, and three Pyaris for this team. And can we do that without bringing in new talents? We will have to prepare for the future. 

Q: How did you select these players? 

CD: We have seen some promising performances in the IWL and Senior Women’s Nationals for the past few months. Among them, we have called up players, who have the skills to perform in the international arena. The fitness levels we observed during the Senior Nationals were good. For instance, Aruna Bag, a young central defender, has shown potential despite her lack of experience. She will gain it as she plays more. Goalkeepers like Payal Ramesh Basude and Nandini have the right physique and height for the job. Though they are juniors, I believe they will evolve among the seniors after a few days of training. 

In Turkey, when we played the Turkish Women’s Cup, we faced problems with substitutions at times. We are trying to overcome that for the upcoming matches against Uzbekistan. 

Q: How is the camp going on? 

CD: The camp is going well. The AIFF Technical Director, Sabir Pasha, is helping us a lot, and I am thankful to him. Though so far we have had two training sessions, I can already feel the sense of competition among the campers. There needs to be a sense of competition both in the camp and in tournaments. Now, the camp is competitive with six goalkeepers and new defenders like Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi and Aruna Bag. 

The team is bonding well, among both seniors and juniors. Their focus and discipline have improved significantly over the past two days. They are getting ready to play Uzbekistan. After playing in Turkey, the IWL, and the Senior National, the confidence level in this team is huge. I have noticed it in their faces, the efforts that they are putting in, and their eagerness to gain exposure and play.

Q: Senior players like Dalima Chhibber, and Sweety Devi are not in the camp, do you feel this can be a setback for the team? 

CD: Dalima and Sweety are important players to us. But for now, they are resting, so that they can perform in the upcoming tournaments. We are also trying to bring in new players into their positions to give them exposure. This exposure is to give match time and experience to young talents. 

Q: What would your strategy be against Uzbekistan?

CD: We have played against Uzbekistan before in the Olympic qualifiers. Our results were not up to the mark. During my time as an assistant coach, we have also played against them. They are a good team. As a coach, I believe our girls can perform much better if they continue their efforts with will and determination. 

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