Striker Rani Rampal has been chosen to lead the Indian Women’s team in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, which is starting from July 8 in Johannesburg. With Rani becoming the captain, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam will be her deputy for the tournament.
The 18-member team also has Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Monika, Sushila and Gurjit Kaur forming a part of the defensive line. Savita and Rajani Etimarpu will take charge as goalkeepers. The midfield comprises Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Renuka Yadav, Nikki Pradhan and Namita Toppo while the forward line is made of Rani, Vandana Katariya, Preeti Dubey, Anupa Barla and Reena Khokhar.
The team is focusing on playing better in the Hockey World League Semi-Final (Women) as it is also a deciding factor for making the cut for the Women’s World Cup in London. The team is still reeling under the 0-5 loss it suffered in their previous tour in New Zealand where they played the hosts in a five-match series.
“While our first aim is to do well in the pool stage and do well against opponents like South Africa and Argentina, our big target is to qualify for the World Cup next year. Though the qualifying criteria is the top five teams, since England are the hosts, our criteria will be to finish in top 6 to qualify for the World Cup,” said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne, reported Hindustan Times.
India is in a pool of strong teams like Argentina, South Africa, Chile and USA in group B. The Indian team will start its campaign against South Africa on July 8. Germany, England, Ireland, Japan and Poland will also be participating in the event.
Picture credit- Naxatra News