Hockey India names squads for South Asian Games

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) Hockey India (HI) on Monday announced 18-member squads for both India men and women’s teams for the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) to be held in Guwahati and Shillong from February 5 to 16.

The tournament will see India women play Sri Lanka and Nepal while the men’s team will be competing against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and arch rivals Pakistan. The matches will be hosted at Moullana Md. Tayabullah Hockey Stadium, Bhetapara in Guwahati from February 7 to 14.

The women’s team will play under the guidance of chief coach Neil Hawgood and will be led by Ritu Rani. The team will see Yogita Bali and Sonal Minz guard the goal posts while Jaspreet Kaur, Renuka Yadav, Gurjeet Kaur, Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam and Ponnamma Mallamada Narendra will form the defensive wall.

Captain Ritu along with Deepika, Sonica, Preeti Dubey and Shyama Tirgam will form the midfield while Rani, Jyoti Gupta, Punam Barla, Neha Goyal and Soundarya Yendala will form the forward line.

“This tournament is of key importance in our scheme of things. Having secured the Olympic berth, it is important for us to play as many international games as possible and the SAG also allows us to try new players, giving us a much wider spread of talent to choose from for the upcoming Rio Olympics,” said Hawgood.

The men’s team under coach B.J. Kariappa will have Mandeep Antil as captain. Vikas Dahiya and Pankaj Rajak have been chosen as goalkeepers while Gaganpreet Singh, Chiyanna A.B., Sukhmanjeet Singh, Nilam Sanjip Xess, Ajitesh Roy and the experienced Gurbaj Singh will form the defence line.

The midfield line includes Manpreet Singh, Mangal Singh Chahal, Vikas Chaudhary, Ajay Yadav and Pradhan Sommanna P. In the forward line Mohd. Umar, Anup Amarpal Valmiki, Mandeep Antil, P.L. Thimmanna, Gagandeep Singh and Ajit Kumar Pandey will be strikers for India.

“The team has been together in the camp for quite some time now and the boys are quite upbeat about putting up a strong show. We hope to convert our silver at the last edition into gold this year and will surely put on display our best game,” said Kariappa.

The squads:

Women’s team:

Goalkeepers: Yogita Bali, Sonal Minz
Defenders: Jaspreet Kaur, Renuka Yadav, Gurjeet Kaur, Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Ponnamma Mallamada Narendra.
Midfielders: Ritu Rani (captain), Deepika (vice-captain), Sonica, Preeti Dubey, Shyama Tirgam
Forwards: Rani, Jyoti Gupta, Punam Barla, Neha Goyal, Soundarya Yendala.

Men’s team:

Goalkeepers: Vikas Dahiya, Pankaj Rajak
Defenders: Gaganpreet Singh, Chiyanna A.B., Sukhmanjeet Singh, Nilam Sanjip Xess, Ajitesh Roy (vice-captain), Gurbaj Singh
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh Mangal Singh Chahal, Vikas Chaudhary, Ajay Yadav, Pradhan Sommanna P.
Forwards: Mohd. Umar, Anup Amarpal Valmiki, Mandeep Antil, P.L. Thimmanna, Gagandeep Singh, Ajit Kumar Pandey.

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