Senior Women's NFC: TN, Bengal, Railways and Manipur to clash in semis
Cuttack , Feb 12 : The 23rd Senior Women's National Football Championship 2017-18 is all set to call the curtain off, with the four deserving teams of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Railways and Manipur battling it out in the semi-finals on Monday.
Tamil Nadu topped their group, before edging out title contenders and hosts Odisha in the quarter-final.
The team has exceeded expectations and is raring to go further. "We are keen to make our maiden final. The girls are excited to prove themselves tomorrow," revealed Tamil Nadu head coach M Muruhuvedan.
Meanwhile, West Bengal have been impenetrable in the tournament with teams like Punjab, Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh falling by the wayside. Their defence hasn't conceded a single goal and will prove to be a tough nut to crack for the inspirational Tamil Nadu side.
"The girls have been focused throughout and we want to continue doing that. Our goal is simple. Win," quipped Pratima Biswas, the head coach of the West Bengal side.
The second semi-final will see the finalists from the last two editions fighting it out to make the final. 18-time champions Manipur and the last team to beat them in a final, the Railways.
The defending champions and eternal favourites Manipur have been on a rampage, with the team scoring an astounding 35 goals so far. Having won and quite a number of India regulars on their ranks, the team is highly confident of making another final.
Head Coach Surmala Chanu showed complete faith in her team when she said, "Winning is a habit. If you don't play like champions, you cannot be champions and that's how we are going to take the field.
But even the best laid plans can go to waste, as showed by the Railways two years back when they beat Manipur in the final. After topping their group, they grinded it out against a tough Delhi side and are now on the cusp of making their third final in a row.
"Our team has come here with one objective, and that is to be the champions. And for that we need to reach the final", stated Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar, the head coach of the Railways side.