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Midfielder Dalima Chhibber tells India to prepare for fast-paced football from South American opponents

Manaus, Brazil: Indian women’s team defender Dalima Chhibber has warned her team-mates to be ready for a fast-paced football from their South American opponents, including Brazil, during the four-nation tournament beginning in Manaus on Friday.

The Delhi player has a first-hand knowledge of the style of football in the Americas as she played for Canadian side Manitoba Bisons from 2019 till recent past.

“I’ve had the experience of sharing the field with players from South America when I had played in Canada. I can tell you that players from this part of the world are extremely skillful, and the teams tend to play at a very fast pace,” Chhibber said.

They have a lot of experienced players as well, but we will be going ahead to put our best foot forward. We are preparing for something big — if we do well in the Asian Cup, we can qualify for the World Cup as well. So the focus remains on that.

India play former World Cup runners-up Brazil on Friday before taking on Chile (29 November) and Venezuela (2 December). Marta, considered as the world’s greatest woman footballers, has been named in the Brazil squad.

Midfielder Indumathi Kathiresan said these matches against strong opposition could serve as a launchpad for the AFC Asian Cup, which will be held in India next year.

Brazil are, of course, a very big side. They have so much experience of playing tough opposition, and I’m sure they are going to play at a high level,” Indumathi said in a release from the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

“It will be a good to carry this experience into the Asian Cup, and we will use this experience to push forward together.

The Indian women’s team has already played in six different countries this year — in Turkey, Serbia, Uzbekistan, UAE, Bahrain, and Sweden.

With Brazil set to be the seventh country the team has toured, goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan weighed in about the importance of playing such matches to prepare for big tournaments.

I think these international matches are very helpful to the team. Not only to be able to play alongside each other but also to understand each other,” Aditi said.

“In the past as well we have gained a lot of experience, and we are looking forward to the same in the upcoming ones in Brazil.”

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