New Delhi, May 23 : India U17 women's football team coach Thomas Dennerby said on Saturday that the team and the staff are itching to get back together but will have to wait for the danger of the coronavirus pandemic to subside.
Dennerby returned to his home country Sweden on April 1 following the interruption of his team's preparations for the 2017 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup due to the pandemic and the lockdown that has been imposed in India to deal with it.
Eventually, the World Cup, which was scheduled to be played in the country from November 2 to 21, got postponed to February 17 to March 7, 2021. "I hope they are starving for that," said Dennerby in a live video conference hosted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in which he took questions from fans and journalists.
"As a footballer, the game has to be your life, you want to be on the pitch. Most of the other things you do are all things you need to do to reach the highest level. But yes, sometimes it is painful to do all that but when you are on the pitch, you always feel very fine.
"It is also extremely important for us to start that up again and I think we are all waiting to get back together again." A number of players have been holed up in their homes where not many would have the space to run or play football properly. Dennerby said that shaking off the rust should be fine once they get back together because at the end of the day, they are all good players.
He said that getting the new dates for the U17 World Cup was important in clearing away the uncertainty that may be there in the minds of the players.
"Because even if you try to help them with the mental and physical side, they have to know if their hard work is going to lead somewhere or is it for nothing," he said. "So after the new dates came, you could see whenever we had webinars with the girls the looks on their faces said that they knew they have got something to work towards now.
"We are trying to help them in all ways, especially on how to handle everything once they get close to the World Cup. At the end of the day, they will only play a game of football because they are really good footballers.
"I always say that if you are nervous or if you feel slightly sick before a World Cup game, its natural. Happens to everyone and you have to just go and play that first game and then go for the next one after that."