After setting up camp in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand for around a month, the Indian Women’s Team will travel abroad on an exposure tour as part of its preparation for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which is set to take place in India next year.

Earlier, head coach Thomas Dennerby had stressed on the importance of playing competitive matches in their preparation for the continental tournament. Now, the Indians, who are ranked 57th in the world FIFA rankings, are set to leave for UAE on Thursday, September 30, where they will play two friendlies against the United Arab Emirates  (FIFA ranking 100) and Tunisia (77).

AFC delegates inspect venues for Women’s Asian Cup in India

After the two friendlies in the UAE, the Indian Women’s Team will then travel to Bahrain to play two more friendlies against Bahrain (85) and Chinese Taipei (40).

That is likely to be followed by a brief stint in Sweden, where the team is set to face two Damallsvenskan league teams, subject to permission to Indian citizens arriving in Sweden from relevant authorities.

“Besides the four matches against UAE, Tunisia, Chinese Taipei and Bahrain, we also have two confirmed matches against two Swedish premier league teams. We are in the process of sorting out the travel protocol to the country as entry of Indian citizens to Sweden is still not open yet,” Dennerby stated.

“I appreciate the efforts of the AIFF in finding us teams willing to play matches against us under such circumstances,” he added.

“We have been training in Jamshedpur for a month, in our quest to prepare for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2020. Unfortunately, the current pandemic situation is tough and the reality is that there are different quarantine restrictions in different countries which kills many options for the Indian teams as entry for Indians in some countries is either still not yet open, or involves a major quarantine period,” Dennerby expressed.

Dennerby had already spoken about the importance of playing quality matches to get the girls match fit ahead of the big tournament, and he believes that the friendlies in UAE and Bahrain will help the team assess itself.

“The matches in UAE and Bahrain will allow us to judge ourselves where we stand against some good competitive opponents. Teams need to build up their defence, and also the build-up process, and all of that is judged in an international match,” the coach expressed.

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