The Indian Women’s Senior National Team will begin their first national team camp in Goa on Tuesday (December 1, 2020), which will be the first time the team will assemble after the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 30 players have been summoned by head coach Maymol Rocky for the camp to kickstart their preparations for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 which will be hosted in India. A detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been prepared for the resumption of the team training, which lays down numerous Covid-19 protocols and guidelines in an exhaustive manner.
Abhishek Yadav, AIFF’s Director of national teams, mentioned that the team is eager to return to the field as soon as possible. “The team is eager to get back on the pitch as soon as possible. The last few months have been unprecedented but we are taking cautious steps to take Indian Football forward together. The AFC Women’s Asian Cup is in sight and we have to be at the top of our preparations by the time the tournament kicks off."
He further stressed that the safety of the team is of ‘paramount importance’. “The safety of the players and the staff is of paramount importance and there is no room for error when it comes to dealing with the safety of our team," Yadav stressed. “We have formulated the safety protocols from the protocols laid down by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India; Sports Authority of India (SAI), our medical team and other stakeholders."
SOME SOP DETAILS
The SOP, as prescribed by Indian senior national team doctor Dr Shervin Sheriff, mandates that incoming players and support staff must get a Covid test (RT-PCR) done from an ICMR accredited laboratory prior to their departure from their hometowns three days ahead of their travel so that they get the test result a day before leaving. If RT-PCR test result comes negative, they can proceed to travel with necessary precautions.
After reaching Goa, a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) has to be done and if the result is negative, they can proceed to their respective rooms for seven days of room quarantine. After successful quarantine without any signs or symptoms of Covid-19, they have to be tested for RT-PCR on Day 8 following their arrival before joining the training.
According to the SOP, the resumption of the camp shall comply with the guidelines laid down by the local authorities and it should take place in a staged fashion with an initial phase of a small group (less than 10 persons) activities in a non-contact fashion while maintaining the social distancing, before moving on to a subsequent phase of a large group (more than 10 persons) activities including full contact training/competition in sport.
Thermal screening shall be conducted before each training session and weekly check-up and monitoring are mandatory. All areas within the training and accommodation premises shall be disinfected at regular intervals. A Covid Task Force shall be constituted at the training camp to guide and monitor all players and staff in the camp.
Additionally, the document lays down in detail various protocols to be followed while arriving for training, during training, using the gymnasium, medical room and accommodation facility.
According to the list of players called for the national camp, Kashmina is back in the team after over a year of being kept out. Kashmina was one of the seven players part of a boycott in December, 2018 following altercation with the assistant coach Chaoba Devi and head coach.
Bala Devi was also a part of that boycott was she was brought back in the squad after her Indian Women’s League 2019’s player of the tournament performance. She had also apologised for the incident. Kamala Devi continues to sit out as she has refused to apologise. She had scored 20 goals in the National Championships last year.
In the current list, Bala and Dalima Chhibber are missing as the former is in Scotland playing for Rangers FC while the latter is in Canada studying psychology and playing for the university team there.
The list of players selected for the camp is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Aditi Chauhan, Elangbam Panthoi Chanu, Maibam Linthoingambi Devi, Narayanasamy Sowmiya.
DEFENDERS: Asem Roja Devi, Jabamani Tudu, Loitongbam Ashalata Devi, Ngangbam Sweety Devi, Ritu Rani, Sorokhaibam Ranjana Chanu, Michel Margaret Castanha, Wangkhem Linthoingambi Devi, Pakpi Devi Yumlembam.
MIDFIELDERS: Grace Hauhnar Lalrampari, Manisha, Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi, Sangita Basfore, Karthika Angamuthu, Sumithra Kamaraj, Kashmina, Pyari Xaxa.
FORWARDS: Jyoti, Anju Tamang, Dangmei Grace, Karishma Purushottam Shirvoikar, Sandhiya Ranganathan, Renu, Jyoti, Soumya Guguloth, Heigrujam Daya Devi.
HEAD COACH: Maymol Rocky.