MUMBAI: Young midfielder Manisha Kalyan believes a good performance at the upcoming AFC Women’s Asian Cup could change the face of Indian football.
Manisha feels that it has been a learning process for her in the senior team over the last few years.
“Every youngster has to adapt themselves to senior football, and it took me a couple of years of being on the fringes, after I was brought in from the U-19 team,” Manisha was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Manisha, who stole the headlines in November last year with her goal against world no Brazil, doesn’t want to rest on her past achievements.
“That’s all in the past. We don’t know who will make the starting XI, or who will come on from the bench, but one thing we do know is that the coaches select us because of the players we are in the present, and nothing what we have done in the past,” she stressed.
“That goal against Brazil was a great moment personally, and I will look back from time to time in my low moments and try to take strength from it. But the Asian Cup is a much bigger stage. A good performance here could change Indian football,” added Manisha.
The ‘Blue Tigresses’ as the Indian women’s football team is known as, are gearing up for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 and their initial target remains to reach the last eight stage.
“We’ve got so many youngsters in our team. There are 20-year-olds, 18-19-year-olds, and even a 16-year-old,” said Sanju Yadav, who plays as a forward.
“But playing for the senior team at this young age means that you must come of age mentally. I think these youngsters that we have are very mature,” Sanju added.
Sanju believes the youngsters who have made the final list of 23, have been brought in on the basis of both their physical and mental strengths.
“Not everyone in a team will have the same physical capacity. But football is a game where mental aptitude is just as important, and these youngsters have shown a lot of that,” she continued.
Hosts India, who are clubbed in Group A, will take on Iran in their first league game at the DY Patil stadium on January 20. —PTI