To listen click here
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, April 24 – The India U-17 Women’s Team have arrived in Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic, to take part in the AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Round 1. India are placed in Group F alongside hosts Kyrgyz Republic and Myanmar.
The Young Tigresses will take on Kyrgyz Republic in their opening game on Wednesday before facing Myanmar on Friday. Both matches will kick off at 19:30 IST at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium and will be streamed live on the Kyrgyz Sport TV YouTube Channel.
In the pre-tournament press conference, head coach Priya PV shared her and the team’s excitement ahead of the matches. “We’re really happy to be here. Our players have been waiting for the qualifiers very eagerly. We have a new squad which is going to play in an AFC tournament for the first time. Hopefully, they will do their level best,” she was quoted as saying by AIFF.
India have been in camp since January – first in Chennai and recently in Indore. In February, the team travelled to Jordan to play two friendly matches against the hosts, winning both 7-0 and 6-0. Last month, the Young Tigresses took part in the SAFF U-17 Women’s Championship in Dhaka, where they finished in third place behind winners Russia and runners-up Bangladesh.
Unfortunately, India will miss the services of the promising Shilji Shaji, who was the top-scorer at the SAFF U-17 Women’s Championship with eight goals, due to pneumonia. Nishima Kumari was called up to replace her in the Bishkek-bound squad.
The much-cooler Kyrgyz weather could be a challenge for the Indian team, but with three days still to go until the first match, there’s plenty of time to acclimatise, according to Priya. The head coach is also banking on support from Indian students in Bishkek who thronged the stadium in numbers to watch the senior Indian women’s team during the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers earlier this month.
Kyrgyz Republic and Myanmar will play the first match of Group F on Monday, April 24. The group winner will make it to the second round of the qualifiers, which will be played in September 2023.