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Hockey India on Thursday announced a 22-member squad for the tour of South Africa where the team, led by goalkeeper Savita Poonia, will play four matches against the hosts and three against the Netherlands in Cape Town from January 16 to 28.
Indian women’s hockey team head coach Yanek Shopman is confident that the tour of South Africa will be a good opportunity to learn and prepare for the Hangzhou Asian Games. The winning team of the Asian Games will get a direct entry into the Paris 2024 Olympics. Hockey India on Thursday announced a 22-member squad for the tour of South Africa where the team, led by goalkeeper Savita Poonia, will play four matches against the hosts and three against the Netherlands in Cape Town from January 16 to 28. The tour is taking place a month after India’s title triumph in the first Nations Cup in Valencia, Spain.
Apart from Savita, other experienced players in the team are vice-captain Navneet Kaur and forward Rani, who is returning to the team after more than a year. Rani last played for India in a Pro League match against Belgium. Vaishnavi Vithal Phalke, who captained the junior national team in the Unifer U-23 Five Nations tournament in May last year, has been called up to the senior team for the first time. “The tour of South Africa is a great opportunity for us to build on our Nations Cup performances,” said Shopman. Playing both South Africa and the Netherlands on this tour will give us everything we need to know about ourselves ahead of the Asian Games.
The coach said the three matches against a strong Netherlands side would be important to know his team’s weaknesses and assess its progress. “Playing against the Netherlands, the number one team in the world, will reveal our weaknesses and also show where we stand in terms of our performance and progress,” Shopman said. We will have more possession of the ball against South Africa, which will give us an opportunity to improve on longer ball possession.
Apart from Rani and Navneet, the experienced Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Sangeeta Kumari, Beauty Dungdung, Reena Khokhar and Sharmila Devi have been included in the front row. Team: Goalkeeper: Savita (Captain), Bichu Devi Kharibam Defenders: Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chowdhary, Gurjit Kaur Midfielders: Vaishnavi Vithal Phalke, P Sushila Chanu, Nisha, Salima Tete, Monika, Neha, Sonika, Baljit Kaur Forwards: Lalremsiami , Navneet Kaur, Vandana Kataria, Sangeeta Kumari, Beauty Dungdung, Rani, Reena Khokhar, Sharmila Devi. SCHEDULE: South Africa v India (January 16, 17, 19 and 21) Netherlands v India (January 22, 27 and 28).
Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.
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