Ashalata Devi

Delighted at India getting to host the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup 2022 finals, India women football captain Ashalata Devi said that she is eagerly waiting to play in front of her mother for the first time.

Just a few days ago, the announcement came of hosting the tournament by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The venues for the tournament haven’t been finalised as yet and would be decided in due course of time.

“Ever since I have been playing football, I have never shown any of my matches to my mother. I was waiting for the right moment and now in 2022, I want my mother to come and watch me play against Asia’s best teams,” the centre-back from Manipur told in an interview.

Ashalata, who was among the three nominees for the AFC Women’s Player of the Year 2019, said that getting to play in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup will be a ‘dream come true’.

“It was a dream to play in the AFC Asian Cup and now that we are hosting it, I am very happy and excited. I would like to thank the AIFF and Women’s Committee as they made a lot of efforts to bring the tournament to India. It’s a huge step for us and the entire continent’s eyes will be on us,” she said.

The Indian side is currently ranked 55 in the world, having won the gold medal in their most recent outing at the South Asian Games 2019 in Nepal and recording draws in friendly games away to Uzbekistan and Vietnam – both of whom are ranked higher.

Women’s football in India has been growing leaps and bounds in recent years and with the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 set to kick off in February next year, the effect of these two mega-events back-to-back is expected to give a gigantic push to the game.

Ashalata said that organising the two major women’s tournaments will be a big boost for future generations.

“As a result of these two tournaments, not only will we see women’s football get a lot of attention but there will also be upgrade in the infrastructure and facilities across the countries. As a result, it will greatly benefit the future generations of players in India,” she added.

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