AFC Women’s Asian Cup: We are very mature team, says India’s Sanju Yadav

Mumbai, Jan 17 (IANS) The prolific forward of the Indian womens football team, Sanju Yadav said that the team, the youngest in Group A with an average age of 23, is very mature to handle all kinds of pressure.

“We’ve got so many youngsters in our team. There are 20-year-olds, 18-19-year-olds, and even a 16-year-old,” said Sanju Yadav. “But playing for the senior team at this young an age means that you must come of age mentally. I think these youngsters that we have are very mature.”

Sanju believes that the players, who have made the final list of 23, have been brought in on the basis of both their physical and mental strengths.

“Not everyone in a team will have the same physical capacity. But football is a game where mental aptitude is just as important, and these youngsters have shown a lot of that,” she said.

While the initial target remains to reach the last eight stage, and give themselves a shot at qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Indian team — the youngest in Group A with an average age of 23.13, will look to its players to come of age.

Football is often deemed as a physical sport, but the mental fitness required in the game is just as important.

The 20-year-old Manisha Kalyan feels that it has been a learning process for her in the senior team over the last few years.

“Every youngster has to adapt themselves to senior football, and it took me a couple of years of being on the fringes, after I was brought in from the U-19 team,” said Manisha.

Manisha, who stole the headlines in November last year, with her goal against World No. 7 side, Brazil, is not one resting on her laurels.

“That’s all in the past. We don’t know who will make the starting XI, or who will come on from the bench, but one thing we do know is that the coaches select us because of the players we are in the present, and nothing that we have done in the past,” she stated.

“That goal against Brazil was a great moment personally, and I will look back from time to time in my low moments and try to take strength from it. But the Asian Cup is a much bigger stage,” continued Manisha. “A good performance here could change Indian Football.”



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