Defending champions Manipur will lock horns with Railways in the final of the 125th Hero Senior Women’s National Football Championship at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode on Thursday.
Both sides were taken to penalty shootouts by their respective semi-final opponents where Manipur defeated Odisha and Railways edged Mizoram. Twenty-time title winners Manipur have been on a rampage, scoring an astounding 27 goals so far.
The head coach of Manipur Bembem Devi is wary of their opponents’ strength.
“Railways are a very experienced side. When I used to play against them, they have always been strong opponents. We are going to have to be tough and competitive,” she said.
These two sides faced each other in the previous edition of the Hero Senior NFC as well. “We have played against them last year in the finals and will go all out to maintain our title again and make our state proud. The girls are very motivated and want to fight till the last whistle,” asserted Bembem Devi.
Railways, after topping their group with 20 goals, ground it out against a competitive Mizoram side in the semi-final and have set up a fourth final against Manipur.
Railways head coach Kamlakanta Singh seemed fully aware of the size of the task they faced on Wednesday. “My players are fighters, and will keep going until the end,” he maintained.
“Manipur is rich in football culture and I respect them a lot. But we won’t take any pressure going onto the pitch. We are very confident of playing a good game of football,” concluded Kamlakanta.