May 2022
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SAFF U-18 Championship: Indian girls face Bangladesh
Jamshedpur: India will take on Bangladesh in their final game to decide the winner of the SAFF U-18 Women's Championship here on Friday.

It will be a "real battle", India head coach Thomas Dennerby said on the eve of the match.

India have played three games in the tournament which is being hosted in Jamshedpur, and have won all those matches -- two against Nepal and one against Bangladesh -- scoring 13 goals, while conceding just one.

However, Dennerby remained cautious ahead of the Bangladesh game, in which a draw would be enough for India to seal the championship.

"It was a tight game last time, and I think it will be the same in this one as well. We have seen the games between Nepal and Bangladesh, and they have been a little slower, but they are still a very good side," said Dennerby.

"Of course, it's the last game of the championship, and everything depends on it. This will be a real battle, so we have to stay 100 per cent focussed."

The 'Young Tigresses', who have nine points on the board, will be looking to end the championship with another win at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.

"We are here to win all the games, there has not been anything that would prompt us to change anything about that. We will look forward to another great game and hope for another three points.

"We want to end the tournament with a perfect record, which will help in the future as well," said the head coach.

India captain Shilky Devi echoed Dennerby's sentiments, saying she is looking forward to having a good game against Bangladesh.

"Coach has told us from the start that no matter what, we want to win all the four games, and that remains our target. We have all worked hard for the last few months and we would love to see the results on the pitch as well," Shilky said.

"We not only want to win, but also want to have a good game against Bangladesh."

As many as nine boys in the squad are playing junior international football for the first time in the ongoing tournament, and Dennerby feels it is important for the future of Indian football to try out talented players in competitive games.

"It's very important to give new girls the chances. These girls are still under education, and whether they get to play the full 90 minutes, or even come on as a substitute for 30 minutes, it would help them grow in the future," he said.

"Winning the tournament is of course important, but the most important thing is to create footballers for the future, and that will help Indian football.

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