After a long and gruelling 10 weeks in training camp, and five friendlies spread across weeks and venues, the Indian senior national women's team is in the Kyrgyz capital to take on the hosts in a two-legged playoff in the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 1.
"Now it's time to get the results, and we have to shift the mindset from performance to ensuring we get them," coach Thomas Dennerby was quoted as saying by AIFF.com
In the five games the team has played this year they have a record of three draws and two losses, results that might suggest there is some pressure in the lead-up crunch time. Dennerby is quick to dispel them.
"There have been some moments when they haven't pressed the right way or the effort has been lacking. But every game we have seen a significant uptick," Dennerby said.
Now though in his own words, the result counts more than the nature of its acquisition.
"It's been a long camp and I'm sure the girls also feel like they are ready to go and get the two wins against the Kyrgyz Republic so that it's a job well done. Some obviously feel the pressure more and for others, the competition is what gets them ticking. My simple advice always is that the desire to win must always be stronger than the fear of losing. We have tried to drill that in lots of classes and sessions also," he added.
India are ranked much higher than the hosts Kyrgyz Republic (61 to 123) but there is no thought of complacency or even letting any of it get in.
Two wins here would guarantee India a spot in Round 2, which could take place in October this year. Before that, Dennerby is also hopeful that the team will get a good outing at the Asian Games in China. All of this will come at the end of the currently ongoing Senior Women's National Football Championship, and the forthcoming Indian Women's League season.
Dennerby, while keen to say that it isn't a point of conversation or added pressure, admits that the result In the qualifiers will help the women's game in India hugely.
"I don't want to say that we are playing for the future, because that creates negative pressure. But we are playing at a time that could set the tone for the women's season. There are several competitions scheduled and ongoing and it will help to get solid results to kick things off," he added.
India will play against the Kyrgyz Republic in the first game of the qualifiers on April 4 at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium in Bishkek. (ANI)