Members of the national women's team have expressed their delight after India was announced as the host of the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 finals. The venues for the tournament haven't been finalised as yet and would be decided in due course of time.
Captain Ashalata Devi, 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," the centre-back told www.the-aiff.com.
She also shared a personal anecdote, highlighting the importance of the stage to her and the players.
She said, "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."
Head coach Maymol Rocky stated that she is 'very excited' at the pronouncement and sounded confident that the team will put on a 'good show' when the competition arrives.
"I am very excited that a tournament of this magnitude will take place in India and I thank the AIFF for bringing the Asian Cup to our country. We have one-and-a-half years to prepare for it and I am sure that we will put on a good show. I hope people will come out to support the team and the girls will do the rest," Rocky told
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.
Maymol added, "People are getting more and more aware of the progress made in women's football in India. The girls will get the opportunity to play against the top countries in Asia and fans will get to see the best teams such as Japan, Australia, Korea and China live in the stadium, which will go a long way to develop interest among young girls and parents."
Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan expressed her delight at the 'amazing opportunity' and termed it as a 'huge responsibility' at the same time.
"It is an amazing opportunity for us to prove and show our supporters why they should believe us when we say women's team has the potential to play at the top level. There is now a huge responsibility for us to put forward the image that we want our supporters to have of women's football."