Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Dec 9 (ANI): Indian women's U17 team arrived in Mumbai on Monday for the U17 Women's Football Tournament 2019 scheduled from December 13-19.
The dream of India hosting and playing in the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup India 2020 is less than a year away. India are set to face Sweden and Thailand -- both nations renowned for their prowess in women's football.
As the 22-member Indian squad arrived in Mumbai on Monday (December 9, 2019), the excitement and enthusiasm in the team were palpable -- with the tournaments set to record a number of firsts.
It is the first time India is hosting an international-level tournament for girls at this level. It will also mark this particular group's first appearance in the national team jersey on home soil, with the SAFF U-15 women's title being annexed in Bhutan two months ago.
This competition will also be a first for Thomas Dennerby as India head coach. Dennerby took charge of the side in November.
The 60-year Swede has named his 22-member squad after watching the players in action at the U-17 Women's Championship in Kalyani, followed by a training camp in Goa.
The UEFA Pro Diploma holder comes with a rich experience of 30 years of coaching in which he guided Sweden Women's team to a third-place finish in the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011, and a quarterfinal spot in the 2012 London Olympics.
"It is a very exciting time. It has been good to start learning about the players both on and off the pitch. So far from what I've seen, I can say that the girls are very good and have been working very hard. Of course, there are things we need to develop and work on -- and that is the reason we are here," Dennerby said.
The U17 Women's Football Tournament 2019 will see India, Sweden and Thailand play each other once in a round-robin format, with the top two teams qualifying for the final on December 19. Given the quality of the opposition side, Dennerby said the matches will be a "nice start" to understand where the team stands.
"We hope to have a good tournament. It is exciting to play friendlies against good opponents and it will be a nice start to see where we are at the moment. It will also tell us the areas of the game where we need to work on," he added.
The teams of Thailand and Sweden shall be arriving in Mumbai on Wednesday, December 11. (ANI)