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“Needs to realize they are not kids anymore” – Ashalata Devi urges young players to step up ahead of AFC Women’s Asia Cup

Indian Women's Senior Team during their training session. (Image Courtesy: Twitter/IndianFootball)
Indian Women's Senior Team during their training session. (Image Courtesy: Twitter/IndianFootball)
Sayantan Guha

Indian women's football team skipper Ashalata Devi spoke about the team days ahead of the start of their journey to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022. She said while the influx of youngsters in the senior team energizes the squad, the players need to realize that they are not kids anymore.

As the host nation, Team India have been drawn in Group A along with China, Chinese Taipei, and Iran. To prepare for the tournament, India toured South America and played friendly matches against high-ranking opponents. In the friendlies, India suffered three defeats on the trot to Brazil, Chile and Venezuela.

🚫 DENIED 🚫A fabulous off-the-line clearance by @AshalataDevi4 🙌#BackTheBlue 💙 #ShePower 👧 #IndianFootballhttps://t.co/VfhOP8yhyz

While the results weren't beaming with positivity, the young squad received invaluable exposure. Out of the 27 players currently camping in Kerala, 13 are under the age of 25.

Speaking about the influence of young players on the squad to the AIFF Media Team, Ashalata Devi said:

“In the larger scheme of things, it’s about taking responsibility. We all talk about this being a very young squad, and it’s great to have all the 19-20-year-olds. They bring great energy into the team. But at the same time, everyone needs to realize that they are not kids anymore. They are in the senior team for a reason, being responsible off the pitch builds that mentality of doing the same on the pitch as well, and that’s the mentality that we all must have, going into the Asian Cup.”

“It’s not easy maintaining focus ahead of such a big tournament” – Ashalata Devi ahead of AFC Women’s Asian Cup

Meanwhile, Ashalata Devi also talked about how she tries to maintain focus ahead of such huge tournaments. She said that it's obviously not easy. However, she stressed that focusing on the little things in life, the nitty-gritties of the daily routines help you focus on the bigger picture.

The Indian Women's Team 🇮🇳 played a practice game against an All Stars 💫 team in Kochi, Kerala, this evening, with the match ending in the formers' favour 🙌IND 4-0 ASTR#BackTheBlue 💙 #ShePower 👧 #IndianFootballhttps://t.co/65cTa4ggJe

The 28-year-old believes if everyone focuses on the little details, things will fall into place.

“It may be something as simple as sorting out if we have got back our correct laundry, to keeping a count of the footballs before and after training,” Ashalata Devi explained.

Edited by Aditya Singh

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