AFC Asian Cup can help Indian football team to make giant strides, says Ritu Rani

New Delhi [India], January 3 (ANI): Indian women’s football defender Ritu Rani feels AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 can help the side make giant strides in their game if the team is able to play to their full potential.

India, being the hosts of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022, have been placed in Group A, where they will face off against IR Iran (January 20), Chinese Taipei (January 23), and China (January 26).

With 12 teams participating in the Group Stage, eight of them will progress through to the quarterfinals, and depending on other results, could take closer steps towards qualifying for the FIFA women’s World Cup, Australia 2023.

“It’s not just this team and each other that we are fighting for. We are fighting for a better future for women’s football,” AIFF quoted Ritu as saying.

“We have been taking a lot of steps in the right direction in the past few years, but the Asian Cup is one tournament where we could make giant strides if we play to our true potential,” she added.

At the Blue Tigresses camp, one can see an array of determined faces, be it on the training ground, at the gyms, or during the video analysis sessions with the entire team. The women’s football team is looking to take the game forward together in 2022.

“Who doesn’t dream of playing a World Cup? Every footballer in our country would have dreamed of it,” said Ritu.

“The U-17 boys back in 2017 had that privilege, and a couple of U-16 batches had also come close to qualifying, but the general feeling amongst us all is that we have a good chance of putting ourselves within touching distance of that,” she added.

With a little over two weeks to go for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup to kick off, the Indian team barely spared any time for the New Year celebrations, as the regular training continued for the Blue Tigresses.

According to AIFF, a brief traditional dress ceremony was sandwiched between two training sessions to help keep the spirits soaring high in the Blue Tigresses’ camp, as the preparations for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup went on. (ANI)

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