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Home / Football / Prepared for all possibilities, India coach Dennerby on U-17 women’s World Cup postponement

Prepared for all possibilities, India coach Dennerby on U-17 women’s World Cup postponement

The age-group global event was originally scheduled to be held in India in November this year but the Covid-19 pandemic forced FIFA to reschedule it to February-March 2021.

football Updated: Oct 06, 2020, 20:42 IST
Rutvick Mehta
Rutvick Mehta
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Thomas Dennerby, head coach of the India women’s U-17 football team.
Thomas Dennerby, head coach of the India women’s U-17 football team.(Twitter/AIFF)

Thomas Dennerby, head coach of the India women’s U-17 team, has said that he has mentally prepared himself for various scenarios including a second postponement of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup slated in India early next year.

The age-group global event was originally scheduled to be held in India in November this year but the Covid-19 pandemic forced FIFA to reschedule it to February-March 2021. However, with coronavirus cases still on the rise in the country and a number of confederations yet to complete their qualifiers for the tournament, another suspension remains a strong possibility.

“Mentally I have prepared myself for all different scenarios. We can just wait for the final decision from FIFA. After that, it will be easier to have a plan for the future,” Dennerby said from Sweden on the sidelines of the international virtual coaching conference organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) earlier this week.

Dennerby flew back to Sweden in March and has since been unable to return to India. The players are also at their respective homes even as plans of holding a national camp for the core group this month remain up in the air. The experienced Swedish coach felt the technical aspects that he has been working on with the team will need some catching up after the untimely long layoff due to the nationwide lockdown.

“We are really trying to stay positive and keep training. It’s our job. The least we can do is keep up the strength and conditioning level. But we really need to work hard with the technical parts of the game when we resume the camp again,” Dennerby said.

For the young players, the wait and uncertainty surrounding the biggest tournament of their nascent careers is bound to play on their minds. Dennerby said they are trying to deal with that by employing different ways to keep the youngsters engaged. “Players report what they have done every day. And we also have webinars with interesting topics. So we always are in touch with each other and their progress is being closely monitored,” Dennerby said.

Not just the players, interactive virtual sessions like the one hosted by the AIFF for coaches of the various Indian teams in the absence of matches and training are providing a breath of fresh air for the coaching staff as well. “For members of a team sport, it (virtual sessions) is very important. There is so much that you can’t do alone without your team. The cooperation and judgement parts are very tough to handle. The webinar helps us with having that feeling. But of course, it can’t replace normal training sessions,” Dennerby said.

Appointed as the head coach in November last year with the task of developing a young squad for the World Cup, Dennerby believed there has been a holistic improvement in terms of the style of play that he brought into the team. “I feel that we have developed really well, both technically and tactically. We know that our fitness levels have improved a lot. So everything has been going the right way so far. But there is still a lot to do,” he said.

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