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Women's Football: I am glad that we are hosting such a big tournament, says Anju Tamang on India being hosts of the Asian Cup

We spoke to Anju Tamang regarding the national camp, and how the team has been preparing for the Asian Cup.

Indian footballer Anju Tamang

 Anju Tamang


Siddharth Mishra

Updated: 27 Aug 2021 8:26 AM GMT

The AFC Asian Women's Cup is around the corner, and we got a chance to speak to Anju Tamang, who plays as a forward for the Indian National Team. The entire team is currently training at a camp in Jamshedpur under the new Head Coach Thomas Dennerby in a bid to prepare for the AFC Asian Women's Cup.

The preparations of the AFC Asian Cup took a major hit because of COVID, and with the IWL being postponed indefinitely, the women team has to depend heavily on the national camps and the friendlies arranged for them prior to the tournament.

We spoke to Anju Tamang regarding the national camp, and how the team has been preparing for the Asian Cup.

1. How do you feel about finally getting to start preparing for the AFC Asian Women's Cup, with the training camp?

The spirits in the training camp are quite high because the team is getting together to train after quite a long time. Everyone has been training at home all this while, so just the freedom to train together on the pitch is quite a good feeling. We also have a new coach now, which just adds to the excitement within the squad.

2. How much are looking forward to playing again in a competitive game?

I am really looking forward to it because I am quite eager to give my best and perform well in a competitive match. I am looking forward to playing against strong opposition, as that needs us to rise to the occasion and the level of the opponent. I am just mentally and physically preparing myself for this.

3. The fact that the Asian Cup is happening in India, do you think the expectations will be high, and being hosts nation there will be a lot of pressure?

We do not like to think about the pressure as if you get caught up with that then it affects your performance. I am glad that we are hosting such a big tournament and have gotten this opportunity, and we want to utilize this in the right way by focussing on doing our best.

4. How different is it meeting all your Indian teammates after so long, and getting back into the training camp?

It is a positive feeling to meet everyone after such a long time. We have stayed in touch all this while just like friends and talked about this moment of getting to train together again.

Now that we are here, that feeling of excitement is still there, and everyone is thrilled about training and playing matches together. We are looking forward to the camp and the journey that awaits us from here on. It feels like everyone has come back with even more determination for the AFC Cup.

5. How difficult was the lockdown for you individually and how did you continue your training and practices in the lockdown?

I was not going out during the lockdown but I was working out in my room. I made my own equipment from basic things for weight training like putting water bottles in the bag, used to do skipping, stepping exercises on the stairs and also used tree branch for pull-ups, our physio recommended me with the drills which I was following and additionally we have space in front of our house and I was utilizing it the most to train.

6. Who is your idol growing up in football?

When I started playing football, my first idol was Nima Lhamu from my village. At first, I didn't know that she was such a big player and she plays for India. When one of my school teachers sent me to play in Gangtok, that's when I got to watch her play and get to know about her. After watching her, I felt inspired and that's when I realized that I too want to achieve something in football by playing for India.

The expectations will be huge from the team as India is hosting the event, but the resources given to them for such a prestigious tournament are comparatively less because they won't be playing the IWL or a competitive league before the tournament begins.

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