India U-17 women's football team head coach Thomas Dennerby is pleased that the junior players have not lost fitness despite being stuck at their homes, thanks to regular online sessions during this coronavirus-forced lockdown.
Dennerby as well as the players underlined the support they got from the national federation during the lockdown period. "Even as all the girls stay in their respective homes, the support from the AIFF needs to be appreciated. The concern from the management is a morale booster for the entire squad," the 60-year-old from Sweden said in a release issued by AIFF.
"We are monitoring the girls on their fitness and having online talks and sessions with them. We wait for the directives to reassemble at the camp. Our chats have ensured us that the fitness levels, tactical matters and the social situations are all under control."
India U-17 women's football team head coach Thomas Dennerby (Source: Mykhel.com)
India midfielder Martina Thokchom thanked the All India Football Federation for its support during this crisis. "I understand it's a difficult time for everyone of us. But I am very thankful to AIFF for the support and it has come as a much welcome relief. I am extremely grateful for their gesture. Federation officials have called up several times and personal touch has really moved us," said the Manipuri.
Jharkhand's Nitu Linda, who also plays as a midfielder, also echoed the same sentiment. "Our Coach and the staff are in constant touch with us through the online sessions and the drills. On top of that, the Federation has been looking after our needs and they have reached out to us for financial help so we don't compromise on our intake. It has also helped my family hugely," she said.
Another Indian footballer from Jharkhand, Astam Oraon also expressed her gratitude. "My parents are touched by the gesture and help received from AIFF during this difficult time. I, personally, am immensely grateful for their kind benevolence. Playing for the U-17 World Cup is a dream and I want to leave no stone unturned," she said.
In May, FIFA had rescheduled the 2020 U-17 Women's World Cup, set to be hosted by India, from February 17 to March 7 next year.