New Delhi: Indian women's football team star Bala Devi has hailed the recent changes in the national set-up and said they have helped the players in innumerable ways.
The team is currently undergoing a camp for the forthcoming back-to-back international friendlies against Vietnam on November 3 and 6.
"Since making my debut in 2005, I have been playing in the national team for more than a decade now. But there has been a string of recent changes, and all for good," Bala Devi said.
"We have seen some considerable changes in the dietary regime, training sessions, and most importantly video analysis off late.
"Laying out a proper diet plan, carbohydrate balance, protein intake, are aspects which are being taken being care of nowadays, and all of that helps players recover faster."
She also highlighted the change in the fitness regime in the camp.
"Compared to earlier days, we spend more time in the gym nowadays. We stress on core exercises. These processes significantly reduce the chances of injuries, and accelerate the recovery process which is of paramount importance from a player's vantage point," she said.
However, Bala added that all of that would have fallen flat on its face had the senior women's team not got the much-needed exposure, which gave them "the opportunity to gauge where we stand, and put all into effect".
"Since January 2019, we have played around 20 International matches. We played in the COTIF Cup, away matches against Hong Kong, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and now we are slated to travel to Vietnam.
"In addition, there was the Hero Gold Cup, the SAFF Championship, the Olympic qualifiers, she smiled. Tell me, when have the women played so much?"
"All of that is our preparation for forthcoming AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. We know how tough the campaign will be so we have to keep on working rigorously."
She also pointed out the impact of the domestic competitions in the women's calendar.
"Domestic competitions build the players. It significantly contributes to introducing more youngsters for the national team. The current average age of the national team now is much lower compared to what was five years ago.
"The Hero IWL has helped create a pool of players all over. IWL clubs select all the talented players, and everyone gets an opportunity to play. The youngsters get to challenge the seasoned campaigners, and gains in experience.