Kolkata: With the Asia Cup approaching near Hockey India (HI) on Tuesday announced 33 women hockey players as part of the probables that will participate in the four-week-long national camp under new coach Harendra Singh.
The women’s team has just returned from a successful European tour, where they put up Strong performances against the Belgium Junior men’s team and Dutch club Den Bosch, that had nine players from the Netherlands’ national hockey team.
A final 18-member squad will be selected from the 33 probables for the upcoming Women’s Asia Cup. The national selectors, HI High Performance director David John and newly appointed coach Harendra Singh will keep a close eye on the players during the course of the national camp, so that they can choose the best squad.
“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,” said John according to a press release.
“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.
He has been with the women’s team for quite sometime now, but this is the first time he will be working as a head coach with the national team in his 19 year career and Harendra Singh opinionated that discipline and goal-oriented performance will be his top 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,” Singh said.
“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,” added the Dronacharya awardee.
The Asia Cup Women 2017, will be Harendra’s first big assignment with the women’s national team and Singh who is known to be a hard-taskmaster said, “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,” he concluded.
The trials to pick the final 18-member squad for the Asia Cup will be held at SAI, Bengaluru on October 4 and 5.
The Probables team list:
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.