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Indian senior women’s team aims to register first win against higher-ranked Myanmar

IANS | July 08, 2024 05:28 PM

YANGON: The Indian senior women's team touched down in Myanmar on Sunday night ahead of the first of their two friendlies against the hosts on Tuesday at the Thuwunna Stadium. This will be India's second consecutive FIFA women's international match window in which the team faces a higher-ranked opponent. Myanmar is ranked 54th in the world, while India are 67th. The Blue Tigresses had previously faced 48th-ranked Uzbekistan in Tashkent on May 31 and June 4, losing 0-3 and drawing 0-0, respectively.

"Myanmar are a good side and we are ready to face them. It's going to be a high-intensity encounter. We don’t need to play a defensive game, we can play attacking football and my girls are perfectly capable of doing so, " said head coach Langam Chaoba Devi to the AIFF Media Team.

India began their training camp at the AIFF National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata on June 26 with 29 players before Chaoba narrowed it down to a 23-member squad on Saturday for the Myanmar tour.

"Overall, the camp went well, though some days were difficult because of a few injuries. But we have managed to overcome them and are ready to face the challenges in Myanmar, " said skipper Loitongbam Ashalata Devi.

India are winless in all five of their meetings with Myanmar so far, losing four and drawing the most recent one 3-3 in the AFC Women's Olympic Qualifiers in Mandalay in 2019. Sandhiya Ranganathan, Sanju, and Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi, all of them part of the current squad as well, scored in that fixture.

Before that, India suffered defeats on each of the four occasions at the AFC Women's Asian Cup Qualifiers (2013), AFC Women's Olympic Qualifiers (2015, 2018) and the Gold Cup (2019).

Elaborating on their experience of facing their tough neighbours, Ashalata said, "We've played against them before, so we have an idea about them. Myanmar are strong and physically tough. Their mobility and speed are also good."

However, it's been over five years since India last faced Myanmar, and the captain believes these two games will mark a fresh start in this rivalry.

As far as their recent form is concerned, Myanmar have been out of action since the Asian Games in China last September. They were knocked out of the group stage after losing to the Korea Republic (0-3) and the Philippines (0-3), and their only win came against Hong Kong (1-0). Before that, Myanmar finished runners-up to Vietnam in the Southeast Asian Games.

"Competing against better and higher-ranked opponents is always an advantage. It leaves us with the opportunity to learn more and change strategies according to different situations as we did against Uzbekistan. I'm sure we'll learn a lot from the Myanmar games too, " Ashalata concluded.

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