The Indian women football team arrived in Dubai on Thursday for its upcoming friendlies in the UAE and Bahrain, which get underway on Saturday.

The friendlies have been planned as part of the team’s preparation for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which is set to take place in India next year.

The Indian team has been camping in Jamshedpur with help from the government of Jharkhand.

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The 23-member squad, along with the support staff, travelled from Jamshedpur to New Delhi, before boarding a flight to Dubai.

The team will play friendlies against the United Arab Emirates (October 2) and Tunisia (October 4), before travelling to Bahrain, where it will face the host on October 10 and Chinese Taipei on October 13.

“The girls are all excited to be getting some match time for our Asian Cup preparation. We have trained hard for the last month in Jamshedpur, and now we are ready to test ourselves against some tough opponents,” said head coach Thomas Dennerby.

Captain and centre-back Ashalata Devi thanked the authorities for arranging a camp and international matches amid a pandemic.

“We know the situation is not easy right now, but the way everything has been arranged to help us set up a long term preparation for the Asian Cup is amazing,” said Ashalata Devi.

“Right from the camp being organised by the Jharkhand Government with top facilities, to matches scheduled against tough opponents, we have received immense support.

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“All the girls are extremely thankful for that, and we are all putting in our full effort to be ready for the Asian Cup,” she stated.

The 23-member Squad:

Goalkeepers: Aditi Chauhan, Maibam Linthoingambi Devi, Shreya Hooda.

Defenders: Dalima Chhibber, Sweety Devi, Ritu Rani, Ashalata Devi, Ranjana Chanu, Michel Castanha, Manisa Panna, Astam Oraon.

Midfielders: Sangita Basfore, Indumathi Kathiresan, Sanju, Martina Thokchom.

Forwards: Dangmei Grace, Anju Tamang,Sandhiya Ranganathan, Soumya Guguloth, Manisha Kalyan, Sumati Kumari, Pyari Xaxa, Renu.

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