The Indian women’s football team will start its first training camp in nine months in Goa from Tuesday under national coach Maymol Rocky in a strict bio-secure environment put in place by the AIFF in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to AIFF, an exhaustive Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been prescribed by team doctor Dr Shervin Sheriff, which covers in detail various requirements and protocols that are to be put in place in order to resume training amid the pandemic.
Women’s coach Rocky said that the team is excited to resume training with an eye on their big-ticket event — AFC Asian Cup in 2022.
“The AFC Women’s Asian Cup is the biggest tournament that India Women’s Senior National team will be playing in years. We competed in Olympic qualifiers but the AFC Women’s Asian Cup is a different ball game altogether," Rocky told aiff.com.
She agreed that even with a preparation time of one year, it will be a massive challenge to compete with continental powerhouses.
“We all are excited about that but there lies a huge responsibility in terms of delivering on the pitch. We’ve to be at the top of our preparations so that we can compete from the get-go.
“Although we still have a year or more, the preparation is a long-term process and competing with the likes of Asian’s superpowers will be a massive task."
According to the SOPs, incoming players and support staff at training camps must get a COVID-19 test (RT-PCR) done three days prior to their departure from home and proceed to travel with necessary precautions if the result is negative.
After reaching Goa, a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) is to be done and if it is negative, they can proceed to their respective rooms for seven days of quarantine.
After successful quarantine without any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, they have to be tested for RT-PCR on Day 8 after arrival before joining the training.