AFC Olympic Qualifiers: Indian eves to face mental litmus test against Indonesia

Mandalay (Myanmar), Apr 3 (ANI): Indian women's football team head coach Maymol Rocky dubbed the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 opening match against Indonesia as a mental litmus test for the team.

The match will kick-off on April 3 at 2 pm (IST).

"The stakes are incredibly high and it will be a litmus test for us mentally. We need to be mentally strong, and aggressive. Every team will want to start the Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 with a win, and so do we," Maymol said.

"A win in the first match will put us in a good position for qualification, which we are aiming for. We'd played two friendly matches against Indonesia in January, and they (Indonesia) showed that they can be tough opponents," she said.

India have played 14 international matches before coming to Myanmar, including two matches against Indonesia where India won 3-0, and 2-0 in Jakarta in January 2019.

"The fact that we'd won the two matches makes it harder for us mentally. We cannot underestimate them, and take it for granted that we shall beat them this time as well," she said.

Skipper Ashalata Devi informed that the team is ready to meet challenges head-on.

"We're aiming to qualify to Round 3. We're extremely glad to have accumulated the exposure, and experience through the friendly matches that we've played before coming here to Myanmar," Ashalata said.

India had clashed swords against the likes of Romania, Uzbekistan, Iran, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan amongst others, and all their three opponents of the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 since January 2019.

"Constant competitive environment in a match setting has helped us develop our confidence. Today we're aware of our capabilities. If we play to the best of our abilities, we can defeat some of the best teams in the region," she said.

"We're not taking Indonesia lightly at all. We need to be at the top of our game if we are to get a win. They play a fast style and are deadly on the wings. We need to be careful of that," Ashalata said.

Meanwhile, the temperatures in Mandalay are predicted to soar above 40 degrees Celsius, and the match will have a cooling break for the players as well.

Mincing no words, the head coach said: "The weather cannot be our excuse, we are playing to win, and we won't let the weather dictate our goal."

"It is what it is. We're here to play football, and focus on our job," Ashalata said. (ANI)