Indian women face a tough challenge when they take on The Netherlands in two exhibition matches in Kolhapur and Navi Mumbai. A day prior to the first match, Coach Anadi Barua spoke at length to www.the-aiff.com on the challenge, the mood in the team, the Dutch side and much more.
How big are the two exhibition matches against The Netherlands?
It means a lot for Women's football in the country. If playing against a top side from Europe, ranked 14th in FIFA Rankings isn't big, what else is? The girls will take a lot back from the two matches. It will be a great learning curve for them. We have trained hard for the last week and I certify ours is a talented squad.
On behalf of the squad, I would like to thank All India Football Federation for the initiative. This will take women's football in India to places.
Given the fact that The Netherlands are ranked 14 in FIFA Rankings, isn't it a tough challenge for you as a Coach?
Playing against any Dutch side is always a huge challenge. But at the same time it's an opportunity. You don't get to play them every alternate day. I'm optimistic and confident my girls will rise to the challenge on the field.
Have you had a look at the Dutch women?
They are tall and will always be an aerial threat. They move fast and their precision passing and off-the-ball play speaks for them. Yeah, we have got some videos of the Dutch team and we are studying them.
We need to be more flexible on the field. I spoke to our Technical Director Mr. Rob Baan and he enlightened me about the utility of 4-3-2-1 and its flexible nature.
How was the weeklong camp been in Kolhapur?
This is the first time the girls have come together after the triumphant SAFF Championship. The Camp has helped them bridge the gap of a long layoff. The camaraderie is exceptional. I have also got time to assess them. You need to keep more possession when you are playing against any top side. We have been working on that in the Camp.
Everyone stays on their toes. The best part is that no one stays sure of a starting place. There are four U-19 players (Lako Phuti Bhutia, Subhaprava Rout, D.Grace and Margaret Devi) in the team and they have been pushing the others.
Our first choice goalkeeper (Aditi Chauhan) is nursing an injury. So is Tuli (Goon). But they will recuperate before Thursday. We are working on our stamina.