Indian Women’s Team arrive in Palestine amidst fanfare

 Debayan Mukherjee

High on confidence after notching up a double against Bahrain over two International Friendlies in the latter’s own backyard, the Indian Women’s Senior National Team reached Ramallah, located in central West Bank, Palestine for the their AFC Women’s Asian Cup (Qualifiers) starting Tuesday (May 21, 2013) amidst rousing reception.
The 23-member Squad and officials reached the picturesque West Asian country on Sunday afternoon. A large posse of local journalists and photographers mobbed the Team upon their arrival. There was also a decent crowd gathering to watch the SAFF Champions.

“Palestine is a beautiful place and we are overwhelmed by such warm reception. We hope to play good football here and qualify for the Finals. We had two decent games in Bahrain and the girls are motivated. It is a tough Group, one that can be called the Group of Death. We have to put our best foot forward. It is serious business from here on,” National Coach Anadi Barua told reporters here.

“This is the most important tournament for us. If we play to our potential we can definitely be that one Team to progress to the next level,” India Captain Tuli Goon opined.

Midfielder Amoolya Kamal added: “I feel o proud. We are greeted wonderfully here. Palestine seems a lovely place. At the same time I also feel responsible. The country is pinning their hopes on us. We have to do it for them. This is the most important tournament for us. The wins against Bahrain helped and we are looking forward to carry forward the momentum.”

India open their account against Myanmar on Tuesday followed by Chinese Taipei on Thursday (May 23) and the hosts Palestine on Saturday (May 25).

India are in Group D. The 23-member Squad:

GOALKEEPERS: Okram Roshini Devi, Tikina Samal, Usha Rani Das

DEFENDERS: Ashem Romi Devi, Loitongbam Ashalata Devi, Suprava Samal, Gurumayum Radharani Devi, Tuli Goon, Lako Phuti Bhutia, Ansha

MIDFIELDERS: Yumnam Kamala Devi, Yumlembam Premi Devi, Supriya Routray, Amoolya Kamal, Dangmei Grace, Oinam Bembem Devi, Sasmita Malik, Paromita Sit

FORWARDS: Irom Prameshwori Devi, Salam Rinaroy Devi, Jyoti Ann Burrett, Ngangom Bala Devi, Pinky Bompal Magar

COACH: Anadi Barua, ASSISTANT COACH: Surmala Chanu, GOALKEEPING COACH: Chitra Gangadharan, PHYSIOTHERAPIST: Dimple Jitesh Maniar.