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Sunil Chhetri, Bhaichung Bhutia Among Current and Former Footballers Wishing Indian Women's Team Ahead of AFC Women's Asian Cup

Indian women's football team in training. (AIFF Photo)

Indian women's football team in training. (AIFF Photo)

In the women’s AFC Asian Cup opener on Thursday, hosts India will look to get off to a winning start against a lower-ranked Iran.

Indian Women’s football team will embark on their AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 journey later tonight when they take on IR Iran at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. For the second time, India will be hosting this quadrennial tournament after 1979, where they finished second after losing to the Republic of China in the final. Back then, it was a six team affair; now, 12 teams will participate in the behind-closed-door competition. This tournament holds special importance, as the FIFA World Cup qualification will be at stake. Five teams will have the chance to qualify for the main event directly, while two will progress to the inter-confederation play-offs.

So, just ahead of the Blue Tigress’ big match, the entire Indian football fraternity came out to support the Indian team ahead of the tournament, including current and former international players.

Indian men’s football team captain Sunil Chhetri had a heartfelt message for the women’s team and said that everyone is proud of the team, and he is sure the team will make the country even prouder.

Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia too had a special message for the Indian team.

Many other former and current player too wished the Blue Tigress’ for the tournament.

Former Indian international Gouramangi Singh, IM Vijayan, Mahesh Gawli, Shanmugam Venkatesh, Maymol Rocky, former head coach of the Indian Senior National Women’s Team also sent special messaged ahead of the start of the tournament.

Apart from Iran, India have been drawn against Chinese Taipei, whom they will face on January 23 and China PR (January 26) in Group A. The top two from each of the three groups, along with the two best second placed teams from the groups will make it to the quarterfinals.

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first published:January 20, 2022, 16:58 IST