ANI Photo | “With strong defence…we can have chance to beat them”: Indian women’s head coach Thomas Dennerby

Indian women’s senior national team head coach Thomas Dennerby said that women’s football in India will keep on developing and with a strong defence they can beat strong teams like Japan and Uzbekistan. 
Now, head Coach Dennerby is back in India after a gap of three months to take up the challenge at the next level. Under him, the Blue Tigresses will launch their campaign in the 19th Asian Games and AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 in September and October, respectively. 
The first challenge for Dennerby will be the 19th Asian Games, where his team have been drawn with Chinese Taipei and Thailand in Group B. After the Asian Games, the Blue Tigresses will be heading to Uzbekistan to play in the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Round 2. Hosts Uzbekistan, Japan, and Vietnam are the other teams in the four-team group. 
The National Camp for the Indian women’s senior team, with 38 probables, will begin in Bhubaneswar from July 30.  
“It’s an exciting and tough group. We are not the favourites. Japan have already won two games in the World Cup without letting in a goal. Vietnam also are a good team. And yes, not to forget, finally, Uzbekistan, who are hosting the qualification round. So, it’s three games where I guess India are not one of the biggest favourites. But with a strong defence, and also knowing that we always create chances, a good day at work, we can have a chance to beat them,” Thomas Dennerby told AIFF.
For Thomas Dennerby, Round 2 of the 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in April in the Kyrgyz Republic was like accomplishing a mission for the Indian Senior Women’s National Team. The veteran Swedish coach did it in style and with an impeccable record, winning both matches with consummate ease.
Talking about the preparations they needed to tackle top teams like Japan and Uzbekistan,  Dennerby said, “Japan will be very, very tough opponents. But the results of the football games are not decided on paper. They are decided on the pitch. It depends on how hard we work, how much effort we put in, and so on. We need to live with that from day one, when we arrive there. And when we arrive in Bhubaneswar, we have to prepare mentally for being a team that’s going to make it through the next round. And also, of course, physically, technically, and tactically, we have to prepare.”
“One of them is the same as we have been talking about before, that we have to utilise our chances around the offensive box. We created a lot of goalscoring chances in recent games but didn’t come out with so many goals. We also need to keep on working hard with the defence which has been working very well and we didn’t let any goals in for two games in the Olympic qualification –not even a goal-scoring chance, I will say,”
Talking about the areas of improvement he is looking at with this team, “But we let some easy goals go in during the friendly games when we were preparing for the Olympic qualification, which I feel is not good. So, we need to take that away and if we have the discipline to play with really strong defence, we know that we always create chances, even against really good teams. So, we should be sharp when it’s time to finish and keep up the good discipline and defence, I think India could be a team that can go all the way through the qualification, if we have a super good day.”  (ANI)

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