I looked up synonyms for ´gut feeling´ but could not find any.
That´s the feeling you get when you wake up in the morning with a bit of nausea, touched with fear and excitement at the same time. How can a synonym for such a feeling exist when even I´m not sure if it classifies as gut feeling or not? But still something deep inside me says that tomorrow is our day.
When I was appointed the Head Coach of the Indian Senior Women´s National Team I knew the challenges we faced. I knew things needed to be changed, and the first change was to bring down the average age of team. That could only have been done by focusing on the youth, aiming to create a squad for the future which can be the mainstay of the National Team for years to come.
When I look back and realise the average age of this squad is 21, I pinch myself often. Is it real? Or is it a day dream?
The bunch of 20 girls stay just one win away from creating history. The batch has grown drastically – not only as players, but most importantly as human beings.
Tomorrow against Myanmar, we will fight. We fight once again for every inch of the field -- for every corner, for every free-kick, on every tackle. Tomorrow, we go out as warriors, put on a brave face and face once again the opponents that have bested us twice in the last two meetings.
I guarantee that the ember that burns inside each player is waiting to erupt. These girls have sacrificed their lives for this sport, their commitment to the team is unquestionable, and surely there must be a reward for them. I can only hope that we get that reward tomorrow.
Tomorrow we fight for every woman footballer in the nation, and hope that we are able to kick-off a revolution in the nation where every girl that wants to play football isn´t told to set aside her passion, but rather encouraged to follow her goals and don the blue of India.
The way these girls have made me proud can´t be described in words. When we were playing against Romania in the Turkish Women´s Cup, the Romanian Head Coach had come to me after the match, and asked me: “What did you make them eat at half-time? They played like warriors?”
They nullified Romania in the second half, and their scores on the GPS was staggering to the point where the physios and the staff were surprised. Even I was, but then I realized this was all a product of hard work, sacrifice and commitment. With this bunch, anything is possible.
In the 14 International matches that these girls have played in the span of 3 months, each one of them have displayed that are capable of greatness.
We won the SAFF Championship in Nepal against Nepal in the finals in an intimidating environment where the crowd was booing us with every touch of the ball we had.
To expect girls some of whom are barely 20 to play the way we did, might be overreaching, but they did it. They proved that age is just a number.