Indian eves to start Junior Asia Cup campaign against North Korea

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) India will face North Korea in the opening match of the 7th Women’s Junior Asia Cup to be played in Changzhou, China from September 5 to 13.

The 18-member Indian squad — led by Rani Rampal — are placed in Pool A which also includes China, Malaysia and Singapore. Navjot Kaur will act as Rani’s deputy.

Pool B includes South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Chinese Taipei.

This tournament will be a qualification event for the Junior Women World Cup to be held next year.

The Indian team is in good form, having finished a creditable third at the Volvo Invitational U-21 tournament in Breda, Holland, in July.

“The team looks confident ahead of the upcoming tournament. They are very much determined post their third place finish at the U-21 Volvo Invitational tournament and the team will aim for a win in the Junior Women Asia Cup,” coach Baljeet Saini was quoted as saying in a release.

“The girls have worked on the various aspects including starting the game with speed and improved their attacking skills.”

Rani meanwhile, is confident of emerging champion in China.

“The team is in good shape and the preparatory camp has been helping us to improve our game each day. We are optimistic after our recent third place finish at the U-21 Volvo Invitational tournament and focusing on our strategies and working on rectifying our mistakes so that we come out as a strong unit,” she said.

“I am sure that we will see a good competition in the upcoming tournament and hope to finish it on a winning note.”

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Inderpreet Kaur, Sheweta; Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Gurjit Kaur, Jaspreet Kaur, Manjit Kaur, Rashmita Minz; Midfielders: M. Lily Chanu, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur (vice-captain), Renuka Yadav, Preeti Dubey; Forwards: Anupa Barla, Rani Rampal (captain), Punam Barla, Navneet Kaur, Sonika

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