Thomas Tennerby took charge of the Indian team in August
Former Sweden coach to lead team to Women’s Asian Cup in January
She shares her vision for the future of India and the status of women’s football
Led by Sweden’s Thomas Tennerby, India are looking forward to regaining their value in the run – up to the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup starting this January. In the first editions of the Asian Championships, the host nation was a competitive team, especially in 1979 and 1983, finishing second. In the ensuing decades, however, the Blue Tigers had little to celebrate. In fact, India have participated in only 5 of the last 14 editions and in none of them have they come out of the group stage.
Now, by competing as hosts of the next Women’s Asian Cup, India have a chance to repeat some of their best results, although Dennerby – who took charge in August – knows how hard her job is. The former coach of Sweden and Nigeria, who has been coaching India’s U-17 team for the past two years, spoke. FIFA.com To share his insights about Indian football, current team and contemporary women’s football trends.
Thank you Mr. Tennerby for speaking on FIFA.com. How did you approach the task of running the country’s second most populous country’s all-women team? It is an honor for me to get this job, and it is a huge challenge. This is exciting work considering the upcoming Asian Cup for women. We are playing in matches and the (Indian Football) Federation is helping us with that. You should understand that it is not easy to prepare for competitive competitions at this time due to the isolated rules in force in many countries. We played [amistosos] In the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sweden. Such encounters help us to know our status. Women work so hard and we will show some good acting.
Her appointment came after taking charge of the Indian women’s under-17 team for two years. How would you describe your current knowledge of Indian women’s football?One of the reasons I took charge of the senior team is my knowledge and involvement in Indian football over the last two years. Naturally, I could not stay in India due to infection. When I came back in early February 2021, I was in Goa, watching them (senior team) in training. As always, when you look from the stand, you are always wondering what you can do to help. Shortly afterwards, when Memol Rocky, my predecessor, resigned, the federation turned to me.
What is the potential of the Indian women’s team? Are there any talented players who have impressed you?We have players who play at their best and players who have great qualities. One is difficult to distinguish, because they are all special. It is not appropriate to mention names at this time as it is a team game. But some women are very impressive. And I keep up with the level of demand for them.
Bala Devi is one of the few Indian female footballers to play professionally in Europe. Do you expect more Indian players to go to Europe to play in top clubs?Of course. I have friends in Sweden and all over Europe, they keep asking me about our players and I keep telling them that the quality we have in India may surprise everyone. Since they played in Sweden, the doors may be open to some of them. We should also keep in mind that clubs in Europe find it difficult to bring in players from India in the event of an epidemic because you cannot send them for trial. That is why I sincerely hope that our focus in Sweden will provide opportunities for them.
What kind of support did you get from the All India Football Federation (AIFF)?Your support is exceptional. He tries to help us with everything we ask. I know we get full support in various fields. Let me give you an example: It’s hard to find teams to hold matches during epidemics, but we’ve traveling. Most importantly, everyone enjoys their work and we strive to develop a successful mindset on the team.
There are just a few months left to prepare for the Women’s Asian Cup to be held this January. We had concentration. The most important thing is to start working not only in training but also in competitions. One or two successes can help us to come to that winning attitude and convince everyone that we can do it. After all, football is a mental sport.
Do you have the confidence to lead India to the first FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023?Let’s go step by step. Naturally, we have a dream that starts with being one of the eight quarter-finalists in the Asian Cup. Anything can happen if that level is reached. I can only assure everyone that we will come out with a winning mindset and try our best; And we will give up fighting for our lives.
What is your assessment of current trends in women’s football and its development in general?The passing game has improved a lot over the years. The technical prowess of the players has also greatly increased. If you look at the structure, the structure of the teams and the defensive side, these are all very valid today. There are currently no weak choices. It is difficult to score against them as most teams are very well organized. In general, levels of competitiveness have risen a lot. I started training in 1997 so I feel like an older man now [risas], And at that time we had a team with some good players, some players were good, and others, to be honest, didn’t get a chance to play today. Nowadays all players are very physical.
What has been your biggest achievement so far as a manager: did Germany take Sweden to third place in 2011, did Sweden win the Best Coach award in 2004 or did Nigeria lead France in 2019? It is difficult to classify everything in order. In fact, it all depends on where you are. In Sweden they always want you to win medals, in Nigeria we won the trophy of African countries and qualified for the Women’s World Cup. I still have a dream, now that India can advance to the quarterfinals of this Women’s Asian Cup.