Captain Rani Rampal has been rested for next month’s Women’s Hockey Asian Champions Trophy and goalkeeper Savita Poonia will lead the 18-member Indian team. The tournament will be played in Dongai, South Korea from December 5 to 12. India has to start the campaign on the very first day itself.
China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia are also participating in the tournament. Selected as the FIH’s best goalkeeper this year, Savita will lead the tournament. Defender Deep Grace will be the ace vice-captain. Tokyo Olympics forward Lalremsiami and Sharmila Devi and midfielder Salima Tete are also not in the squad. All three are part of the junior team that will play the FIH World Cup in South Africa from December 5.
Namita Toppo and Lilima Minj join the team. The forward row will be commanded by two-time Olympians Vandana Kataria and Navneet Kaur. He is accompanied by Rajwinder Kaur, Mariana Kujur and Sonika in the team. The midfield consists of Sushila Chanu, Pukhrambam, Nisha, Monica, Neha and Jyothi. Navjot Kaur and Suman Devi are alternate players and they will get a chance if any of the 18-member team is injured or corona infected.
Speaking about the team, head coach Yanke Schopman said, “We have picked a good team for the Women’s Asian Champions Trophy despite some players getting injured and senior players joining the junior team.”
This will be the first tournament as a coach for Shopman, who served as the team’s analysis coach under Shored Marin. “There is a lot of expectation after the Tokyo Olympics but we will start afresh,” he said. I am sure that if we play to the best of our ability, we will be able to perform consistently.
India has to play Thailand on December 5 and Malaysia on the next day. After this, on December 8, defending champions Korea and then China and Japan have to face. The final will be played between the top two teams of the pool on 12 December. India had lost to Korea in the final last time.
Goalkeepers: Savita (Captain), Rajni E Defenders: Deep Grace Ace, Udita, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu, Pukhrambam, Namita Toppo, Monica, Neha, Jyothi, Lilima Minz Forward: Navneet Kaur, Vandana Kataria, Rajwinder Kaur, Mariana Kujur, Sonika.
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