The Indian Women’s U-20 Team begins its 2024 AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup qualification journey against Singapore at the Viet Tri Stadium in Viet Tri City, Vietnam on Tuesday.
India is placed alongside Singapore, Indonesia and hosts Vietnam in Group F of Round 1 of the qualifiers. The group winner will qualify for Round 2, which will take place in June to decide the final list of eight teams for the AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup in Uzbekistan next year, as per a press release from All India Football Federation (AIFF). The Young Tigresses finished third in the SAFF U-20 Women’s Championship held in Bangladesh last month, after which head coach Maymol Rocky demanded “more aggression to score and win matches” from her side.
The Indian team then had a three-week camp in Chennai alongside the senior team, which helped the youngsters gain more confidence and prepare better for the qualifiers in Vietnam.
“It is our first match tomorrow, so we will give our best and go all out for the win. We respect Singapore,” said Rocky in the pre-match press conference on Monday.
“It was a long journey to Vietnam for us, but now the girls have settled in. Today will be our second training session here, and we are adapting well,” the Indian coach added.
India is hoping to end an 18-year wait to qualify for the AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup, having last qualified in 2006. In their only previous meeting with Singapore in the 2004 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in China, India ran out 1-0 winners. Singapore has not qualified for the final tournament since then.
More recently, Singapore, led by head coach Chris Yip-Au, finished bottom of their group with one point in four matches in the AFF U-18 Women’s Championship in July last year.
Indian captain Apurna Narzary sounded excited ahead of the contest. She said, “This is the first time we (the current batch) will be facing Singapore. Obviously, they will want to play at their best. But we are here to give our 100 per cent.”
The AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Round 1 match between India and Singapore will kick off at 1:30 pm IST and will be streamed live on the On Sports and VFF YouTube Channels.