On a high after a 7-0 thrashing of Nepal, the Indian women's football team will look to continue its strong form in the upcoming matches too as it chases its first title in the SAFF U-18 Championships. India made a flying start to the tournament with a big win again Nepal on Tuesday with Lynda Kom scoring a brace in the 17th and 35th minutes at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.
Kom is not willing to bask in the glory of the performance for too long and wants to focus on the next match on Saturday against Bangladesh, the team that had beaten India 1-0 in the 2021 final in Dhaka to lift the title. Bangladesh have won both the earlier editions of the championships -- in 2018 and 2021.
"It was a great result but the job is not done yet. We want to have another good performance in our next match against Bangladesh and continue the same going ahead," said Kom. "I was really happy that I could help the team by scoring two goals, but I want to continue that form and score many more as well." Captain Shikly Devi commented on the energy of the side, stating that the winning effect had rubbed off on everyone.
"The energy in the team is brilliant. When you're 3-0 up at half time, it's very easy to ease up and just try to play out the match," Devi said. "But this group of girls have immense energy and we kept pushing throughout the 90 minutes. It's not always easy to score that many goals, it has a lot to do with the mental strength of the team." Midfielder Martina Thokchom, who made her senior international debut in Brazil last year, highlighted the physical fitness of her teammates to keep going at full tilt for the entire match.
"Everyone in our team has been in camp for the last three-four months. Some of us who were in with the senior team, have been in camp for even longer -- so the coaching staff has had ample time to work on their fitness," said Martina. "The coaches have also helped a lot, by improving our fitness over these months, and the results are there to see," she said. Head coach Thomas Dennerby said he was impressed with the performance as well.
"We had a really good game, and a lot of good plays in the match. It was really good to start the tournament with this win, it does a lot to help the morale of the players for the upcoming matches," Dennerby said. "I was very impressed with some of the goals that our girls scored against Nepal, and especially our wingers were very good on the night."