Pleasantly surprised by the quality of players here: Dede

Pleasantly surprised by the quality of players here: Dede
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Contrary to what the general perception was in her home country of Nigeria, Precious Dede is pleasantly surprised by the level of the players that currently form the Indian U-17 Women’s team.

New Delhi : Contrary to what the general perception was in her home country of Nigeria, Precious Dede is pleasantly surprised by the level of the players that currently form the Indian U-17 Women's team.

The former Nigerian captain, a stalwart between the sticks for her country for many years, took charge as the goalkeeping coach of the Indian U-17 side before the start of the ongoing U17 Women's Football Tournament in Mumbai.

"The perception in Nigeria was that India is not a footballing country and people expressed surprise as to what I would be do in India.

However, the actual level of the players is much higher than what I expected. When I saw them play I was really excited.

Coming here I was expecting to see and meet a second family away from my home in Nigeria and it has been met too," she told IANS.

Dede said that she is seeing significant improvement in the players already. "I'm very impressed now with the players. Since the time I have been here there has been great improvement in their game. The girls are really committed and are improving each day," she said.

She reunites with Thomas Dennerby, who formerly was the head coach of the Nigerian senior women's team.

Dennerby was made the coach of the team in November and Dede's inclusion is part of his project going into the 2020 U17 Women's World Cup, which India have qualified for on account of being the hosts.

She retired from football in 2016 and has since been with the coaching setup of the senior women's Nigerian team for a short stint before becoming part of the U20 squad of her country which reached the quarter finals of the 2018 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup.

"He is an easy-going and accommodating person. In Nigeria, everyone -- from players to federation officials -- they call me 'mother.' I think he saw the same thing and he brought me here," she said.

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