New Delhi: The U-17 Women's Championship, played from November 11-17 in Kalyani, West Bengal, was aimed at scouting players for the national team ahead of the U-17 Women's World Cup India 2020 and while it was evident there a lot of technical work was needed on the girls, some managed to impress with their skills and instinctive play.
Alex Ambrose-coached Lionesses thrashed Priya PV's Tigresses 7-2 in the final on Sunday to win the title while Panthers and Cheetahs ended without a single win. However, a few players from all the four teams stood out. Here we take a look at the 10 players who were most impressive throughout the week (in no particular order):
Lynda Kom Serto (Lionesses): The Player of the Tournament Lynda ended with six goals in four matches in the tournament. She finished as the top scorer in the week-long tournament and stood out in the final for her decisive strikes. Apart from her goalscoring instincts, what was most impressive was her off-the-ball movement and her ability to find perfect spaces to make a run into. Lynda pretty much fit the quintessential striker's role.
Priyangka Devi Naorem (Lionesses): Priyangka was another crucial member of Lionesses' victory squad. Not only did she score goals for the team, but her darting runs and her incisive passing play was also eye-catching. Priyangka also showed the ability to hold her strength up front and physically fight off defenders in order to get her passes and shots away.
Sumati Kumari (Lionesses): Sumati was perhaps the most important member of the Lionesses team. If not for her agility and pace on the flanks, Lionesses may not have been able to create the number of chances they did in all the four matches. Such was Sumati's impact that India's U-17 women's World Cup team coach Thomas Dennerby singled her out as someone who impressed him the most in the tournament.
Daisy Crasto (Lionesses): Daisy was a menace for the opposition defenders on the right flank. The full-back not only did her defensive duties admirably but she was also responsible for starting a number of attacks from the back. Daisy was especially on top of her game in the final when two of her crosses led to goals.
Aveka Singh (Tigresses): Delhi's Aveka was the most impressive member of the Tigresses team even though Lionesses managed to dilute her impact in both the games where the two met. Aveka's positional sense in the middle of the park stood out in the tournament as well as her vision. Not only could Aveka dribble past impressively but her passing also came across as quite intelligent.
Amisha Baxla (Tigresses): Amisha started the tournament impressively for the Tigresses even though her impact waned as the tournament went on. Despite falling off the radar in the last two games, Amisha's pace up front was one to watch out for. Amisha also showed impressive ability to be in the right place at the right moment to play a decisive role for her team.
Manisha (Tigresses): If not for Manisha, the Tigresses could have lost the final by an even bigger margin. Tigresses' goalkeeper Manisha was big at the goal and stopped a number of efforts from the Lionesses even though two of her saves went in vain with the rebounds being scored. In the last 15 minutes of the final, Manisha pulled off five saves, including one when Sai Sankhe was one-on-one with her.
Malavika P (Cheetahs): Malavika was one of the few positives for Oinam Bembem Devi's Cheetahs. Malavika displayed her strength and skill at the ball in all the three matches that her team played. Malavika's ability to stay calm with the ball upfront and look for her fellow forwards to pass to when needed was what stood out the most.
Flani Costa (Cheetahs): Flani struck a decent partnership with Malavika upfront for the Cheetahs. Her pace and willingness to press and run deep with the ball was something that helped Bembem's team create a number of chances. However, both Flani and Malavika's lacked the decisiveness to score goals, something that did cost their team.
L Rejiya (Panthers): Panthers were clearly the least impressive team in the tournament and were batted by the Lionesses and Tigresses while they played out a 1-1 draw with the Cheetahs. However, if there was one player who was able to shine in the team, it was Rejiya. Rejiya was the centerpiece of the Panthers team and did everything from defensive duties to the attacking ones. Rejiya had the pace to trouble the defenders and the calm head to sit deep, thwart attacks and create some for her team.