"Heartbreaking" as Indian football team are forced to exit Women's Asian Cup

India’s withdrawal from the Group A match against Chinese Taipei on Sunday night disappointed many Indian fans, as India failed to name the required 13 players due to at least 12 players on the team having tested positive for COVID-19. This announcement came minutes before the match was about to start at 7:30 PM at the DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai.

Now, Women’s Asian Cup announced on Twitter that India have withdrawn from the tournament altogether, and all previous matches played by them shall be considered “null and void” and would not be considered in determining the final group rankings.

After India announced their withdrawal from the Sunday match, netizens started speculating what this would mean for India going forward in this tournament.

India had so far played one match against Iran on Thursday, January 20, which resulted in a 0-0 draw. Therefore, the match with Chinese Taipei was supposed to be a make-or-break situation for India, which would decide whether they remain in the competition or not. Notably, India defeated higher-ranked Chinese Taipei last year in a friendly match.

Praful Patel, president of AIFF, was one of the first persons to announce the unfortunate news of the match withdrawal on Twitter with a thread of tweets: “Our support for the Blue Tigresses will continue, and we will work to ensure that our players come back stronger.” He went on. “The AIFF also thanks the fans and is grateful for their continuous support in the joint endeavour to take Indian Football Forward Together,” he tweeted.

India’s exit from the AFC Women’s Asian Cup is even more unfortunate as the Women’s Senior team had been training for this international tournament for the past six months by playing friendly matches against Tunisia, UAE, Sweden, Brazil and more.

The passionate Indian football fans were quick to express their sadness over the news:

The tournament continues with the other teams including stalwarts China, Japan and South Korea. The matches can be streamed on Eurosport and Jio TV.

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