Hockey India names 33 players for women’s national camp

Bengaluru: Aiming for a strong performance in the upcoming women’s Asia Cup, Hockey India (HI) on Tuesday named 33 probables to participate in the four-week-long national camp here under new coach Harendra Singh.

The eves are recently back from a successful tour of Europe where they played against the Belgium junior men as well as the Den Bosch, a premier hockey club in the Netherlands which consists of over nine Dutch national players.

During the course of the camp, selection trials will be conducted under the purview of national selectors, HI High Performance Director David John and Singh to pick the 18-member squad for the Asia Cup Women 2017.

“Though newly appointed Chief Coach Harendra Singh is very well acquainted with all the women in the national camp, a formal handing over of the team happened this morning. The Indian women’s team have done well against the junior Belgium men’s team, where India played a men’s team for the first time,” John said in a statement.

“I believe the team has shown improvement. The Asia Cup is an important tournament for the women to win a direct berth for the World Cup next year.

“In my opinion, they go into Asia Cup as No.1 side and I definitely expect them to finish in the final,” he added.

On taking over the reins of the women’s team for the first time in his 19-year coaching career, Singh said discipline and result-oriented performance will be his priority.

“This is the first time in my career that I would be coaching a women’s side and I see this as a new challenge. Discipline and committing 100 per cent to the team’s goals will remain a top priority.

“I have followed this group of girls for a while now and they have a strong base, they are focused and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses after having played together for three to four years. I would like to see them go into every tournament as tough contenders for a medal,” expressed the Dronacharya awardee.

Under Harendra, the women’s team’s first big tournament will be the Asia Cup Women 2017. The trials to pick the squad will be held on October 4 and 5 here.

“We have already set short term and long term goals for the team. While short term goal is to win the Asia Cup women and directly qualify for the World Cup next year, my mission for 2018 is to win the Asian Games and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. I believe this is a realistic target,” Singh said.

Women Campers:

Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu, Swati;

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, P.Sushila Chanu, Sunita Lakra, Gurjit Kaur, Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli, Navdeep Kaur, Rashmita Minz, Neelu Dadiya;

Midfielders: Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Deepika, Karishma Yadav, Renuka Yadav, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Lilima Minz, Neha Goyal, Udita, M. Lily Chanu, Nilanjali Rai;

Forwards: Rani, Vandana Katariya, Preeti Dubey, Reena Khokhar, Anupa Barla, Sonika, Lalremsiami, Poonam Rani, Navneet Kaur, Navpreet Kaur.