Striker Rani Rampal will lead an 18-member Indian women’s team at the women’s Hockey World League Semi-Final which will begin on 8th July in Johannesburg, South Africa. Defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam has been named as the vice-captain for the tournament.
The squad features an experienced line-up with Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Monika, Sushila and Gurjit Kaur forming a very sturdy defensive line.
The team has two goalkeepers in Savita and Rajani Etimarpu while the midfield consists of Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Renuka Yadav, Nikki Pradhan and Namita Toppo. The attack features Rani, Vandana Katariya, Preeti Dubey, Anupa Barla and Reena Khokhar.
Though the Indian eves suffered a 0-5 loss in their previous tour in New Zealand where they played the hosts in a five-match Series, they look for better performances and results at the Hockey World League Semi-Final, which also happens to be a qualifying tournament for the 2018 Women’s World Cup to be held in London, England.
“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 top five teams, since England are the hosts, our criteria will be to finish in top 6 to qualify for the World Cup,” said Indian Women’s National Hockey Team coach Sjoerd Marijne.
India are grouped in Pool B along with strong opposition in form of Argentina, South Africa, Chile and USA. The event will also see participation from Germany, England, Ireland, Japan and Poland. India will begin their campaign at the Hockey World League Semi-Final against hosts South Africa on 8th July.