ANI Photo | “On-pitch strategy will make right impact,” says coach Priya PV on AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Round 2

India’s U-17 women’s team head coach Priya PV, who was recently named the AIFF ‘Women’s Coach of the Year’, discussed her team’s preparations, improvements, team bonding, training strategies and much more. She is confident that Women’s Football in India is making positive strides, citing the example of the senior women’s team’s participation in the Asian Games.
In three weeks’ time, India’s women footballers will be seen in action in different parts of the continent. While the Senior Women’s National team will travel to Hangzhou, China, for the much-awaited Asian Games, the U-17 Women’s team will leave for Thailand for Round 2 of the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers.
“After a few weeks, we will be entering the arena to play the second round. All the teams who will play in the second round are very strong teams; but I believe that if we plan accordingly and train well, we can make a very good impact and progress accordingly,” Priya said in the official website of AIFF. 
The Young Tigresses had earned the distinction of making the Thailand trip after they emerged as Group F toppers in Round 1 of the qualifiers held in the Kyrgyz Republic in April. They beat the hosts 1-0 and Myanmar 2-1 to qualify for the second round. They are set to lock horns with hosts Thailand, the Korea Republic and IR Iran in Round 2. 
The U-17 women’s team has set camp in Goa since the past week under the watchful eyes of Priya PV.
“I feel truly honoured and remain grateful to the Federation for this recognition. To me, this is not only a mere award, but a further motivation to work even harder. It has deepened my resolve to give each assignment my hundred percent and work to the best of my ability,” Priya said on being named ‘Women’s Coach of the Year’. 
Priya thinks this move is significant and reflects the development and increased visibility of women’s football in the country.
“It’s going great. The team is working hard in both training and strategies to bring their best performance to the field, with a focused mind on technique and fitness,” she added. 
“Well, some of them have come after a lengthy break. So, the fitness of a few players has naturally been impacted. Initially, the practice sessions were slightly difficult with low spirits, but now there is a positive shift in the attitude and it’s definitely going well.”  
The coach further said that the team would go on the second round with planning after watching the videos of our games. 
“As I told you, the teams playing in the second round are all strong and they will do their planning after watching the videos of our games. But again, I believe that if we have a good strategy in place and train the players well, we will be able to do well and achieve the best results.” 
“Even though we have our weaknesses, my job is to train and prepare them so they are in their best form. But the areas where we struggle the most are in the goalkeeping department and finding the right strikers. We are working hard on all those areas and I have full confidence in my girls,” Priya continued. 
Shilji Shaji who has been named the ‘AIFF Emerging Player of the Year’ is back in the team, when asked about her, Priya said, “I am proud of what she has achieved. She is a player, who grew up and matured through the Kerala Government Sports Division and I have had the opportunity to coach her as well. I believe this award will motivate her to work harder and reach new heights in her career.” 
“It’s fantastic news and hugely encouraging. The Senior Women’s Team’s participation in the Asian Games is a significant step forward for Indian women’s football. Women’s football in India is having more visibility and the coaches we have now are doing great work. So, I think that we are very much on the right track and women’s football in India is definitely making the right developments,” she concluded. 

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