Sweety Devi: 'My dad is the best coach'

The latest inclusion of India star defender Sweety Devi has strengthened Sethu's back line this season. The sharp defender on the pitch can easily sweep the ball past experienced strikers and is all set to give a tough time toall the forwards this season in IWL. Her passion for the game and experience at the back will surely give Sethu FC an upper hand over other teams.

Can you elaborate a little about your past and what made you get into football?

My father is a football coach and my career started with him only. He took me to different practice sessions he had and I used to watch the boys play and tried to replicate them at the side. I always used to play in the practice sessions on my own and that is how my interest for football or taking the game seriously developed inside me. Manipur was always a football supporting state and we have always seen senior players flourish at our place from whom I got a lot of inspiration and the will to play seriously grew even more.

The number of teams has increased this year and so has the challenges and what do you think is the difficulty level and the competition this season, so are there any teams you are really looking forwards to play?

From my past experiences in Indian Women's League (IWL), this year the competition level is even more and the inclusion of a number of teams definitely adds up to the challenges we are about to face this year. As time ispassing by, more new players and young talent is coming up in women's football which is a very good aspect for its growth. Being a player these upcoming young talents and players can give us a hard time on the pitch forwhich I have to be at the top of my game to handle them.

Is there any specific coach or person who has been always inspiring you to play football or who has been a constant guide toyour career from a very young age?

The role of a true influencer in my life is being played by my father. He has been always by my side and has also helped me a lot in improving my game and developing a better performance with the ball on the pitch. For me, my dad is the best coach who has always guided me throughout my football career and will always be by my side in the future as well.

Where do you see Sethu FC finishing in IWL?

In football we cannot predict from before much, it all depends on how we play the tournament or what is our performance on the pitch in the matches. Still I think we have a really strong team with most of the nationalplayers in the side and also we are having two international players this season from Nepal. The team moreover looks in a beautiful shape and all the players are quite highly motivated and we are all working hard for the ultimate title which I think we will be able to clinch this season.

Being a defender do you feel about any particular striker who can give you a tough time on the pitch?

I don't have that kind of feeling for any of the Indian strikers in particular. Recently we have been to Turkey for some games where there were a lot European players. I think I kind of have a different level of respect for thoseplayers because of their excellent understanding of the game and their playing techniques are also quite different from us. I think they will definitely give a hard time on the pitch, I am trying my level best to match their physical strength and their techniques specially so that in the future they don't haunt me on the field.

How do you prepare yourself, before facing those kind of experienced players?

I try to analyze all the players in the team who I am facing next. So that really gives me an idea that which player is capable of doing what accordingto which I mentally prepare myself to adapt in those conditions and what tactics I should use when am face to face with them. There are a lot of speciality strikers who have very unique ways to take the ball away from you, for which the pre-game analysis of the player helps me a lot.

How is Chennai treating you?

This is my first time in Chennai and am absolutely loving it, specially the people here are so warm and caring, I really don't have any complaints from this place. The climate is also not a very big problem as back at our place we experience a lot of heat as well. The food here is also well balancedfrom an athlete's perspective and its quite tasty.

What are your hobbies apart from football?

I don't have much apart from football, as I consider it as all important in my life. Still apart from football I like to listen to some music sometimes and watching T.V.

Where do you see yourself going from the end of this tournament?

It is the first time that am coming to some place other than Manipur to playfor any club. Sethu will definitely give an amazing experience as I already mentioned before we have an excellent set of players who are so well versedwith the game and can give me really important lessons about the game. Coming out from my comfort zone and playing in some different conditionswill surely help me in the future as I can be more open towards new challenges and different playing conditions.

What are Sethu FC's goals and objectives for the season?

Sethu FC is a highly professional team who are constantly working for the betterment of their players and staff. Their basic objective is to get the best out of the players in the squad as they have invested a lot this season in order to make the team more dominating among other women's football clubs. So if we are giving our best and are all synced in well with the team, then definitely we will be able to give the best results to the club.