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SAFF U-18 women’s c’ship: Confident India braces up for Bangladesh challenge

Having defeated Nepal 7-0 on Tuesday, India will look to continue to excel when it faces Bangladesh on Saturday.

Lynda Kom was a chief contributor to India’s success against Nepal, scoring a brace. Looking ahead to the team’s next assignment, she said, “It was a great result but the job is not done yet. We want to have another good performance in our next match against Bangladesh and continue the same going ahead. I was really happy that I could help the team by scoring two goals, but I want to continue that form and score many more as well.”

Captain Shikly Devi said that the winning mentality had rubbed off on everyone in the team.

“The energy in the team is brilliant. When you’re 3-0 up at half time, it’s very easy to ease up and just try to play out the match. But this group of girls have immense energy and we kept pushing throughout the 90 minutes. It’s not always easy to score that many goals, it has a lot to do with the mental strength of the team,” she said.

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Midfielder Martina Thokchom, who made her senior international debut in Brazil last year, highlighted the physical fitness of her team-mates – they kept going at full tilt for the entire match. “Everyone in our team has been in camp for the last three-four months. Some of us who were in with the senior team, have been in camp for even longer – so the coaching staff has had ample time to work on their fitness. The coaches have also helped a lot, by improving our fitness over these months, and the results are there to see,” she said.

Head coach Thomas Dennerby said he was impressed with India’s performance.

“We had a really good game, and a lot of good plays in the match. It was really good to start the tournament with this win, it does a lot to help the morale of the players for the upcoming matches. I was very impressed with some of the goals that our girls scored against Nepal, and especially our wingers were very good on the night.”

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