Indian women’s hockey team announced for World League Semi-Final

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Hockey India (HI) on Monday announced an 18-member national women’s team for the Hockey World League Semi-Final to be played in Antwerp, Belgium, from June 20 to July 4.

India are placed in Pool B with World No.2 Australia, No.4 New Zealand, Poland and hosts Belgium. Pool A comprises of World No.1 Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Azerbaijan.

World No.13 India will take on World No.12 Belgium first up on June 20 with the team being led by captain Ritu Rani, who will be supported by vice-captain Deepika. This will be the first test for new chief coach Mathias Ahrens.

“The team is doing very well and improving perfectively. We have pointed out mistakes and loopholes in the previous matches and are positively working on those issues. The players are keen learners and working really hard which is a very good thing for the team,” said Ahrens.

“We know that we will face top-ranked teams but we are not under pressure. We will just focus on our strategies and play our best game. I am sure that we will see good competition.”

The top-4 sides of the 10-team tournament will qualify for the Hockey World League Final to be played in Rosario, Argentina in December while the top-3 finishers will also secure a place in the 2016 Olympics.

“The team is in a very good shape and the ongoing preparation camp is helping us improve our game. With our recent performance, we have seen improvement in our game and have successfully rectified the mistakes we committed in our previous tournaments,” said Ritu.

“New chief coach is working well with us and we are learning new strategies under him. The atmosphere is very positive and we are confident to take on our opponents.”

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajini Etimarpu

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Sushila Chanu

Midfielders: Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Lily Chanu, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Renuka Yadav

Forwards: Rani, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Anuradha Devi, Soundarya Yendala

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