New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) India captain Ashalata Devi, who will be getting an opportunity to play in the AFC Asian Women’s Cup scheduled in 2022 in front of her home fans, wants to inspire the next generation of women footballers in the country.
“It will be a huge honour to represent India on such a big stage. The whole team is excited about it and we are preparing really well for it. We saw the U-17 World Cup in 2017 and the kind of support that the team got. We are hopeful of getting the same support,” said Ashalata as per the-aiff.com.
“I hope the two tournaments that we are hosting next year – AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 and FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 inspire new girls to take up football. When they see us playing in front of packed stadiums, it will definitely motivate them,” she added.
According to Ashalata, it is important for footballers to start at a young age as it helps in formation of a player and learning the basics.
“I started playing football when I was 12,13 but you have players starting at 7,8. Those 4-5 years are really important in the formation of the player and learning the basics.”
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) recently launched its bid for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 and the 27-year-old is optimistic about India’s chances of winning the bid.
“We have the infrastructure and would have already hosted a few big tournaments by then. It will also be a great chance for other Asian fans to see India and the passion that the country has for football. I hope we can pull this off,” said Ashalata.