Hockey India on Tuesday announced a 20-member national Women's Senior Hockey Team for the Europe Tour, which will play a four-nation tournament in Spain from July 16 after matches in Germany. Both the tournaments are also important in preparation for the Hangzhou Asian Games to be held in September-October.
Firstly, the Indian Women's Senior Hockey Team will play the first three matches in Germany, one against China and two against the hosts from July 16 to 19. The team will then travel to Spain for matches against South Africa, England and the hosts from July 25 to 30. Moreover, the matches are being played to mark the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Hockey Federation International Tournament. Not much has changed in the Indian team that toured Australia in May.
Meanwhile, the Women's Senior Hockey Team will be led by goalkeeper Savita Punia while ace Deep Grace Ekka will be the vice-captain. In addition, Veteran defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam and forward Deepika are back after being rested for the Australia tour. On the other hand, Jyoti Chhatri, who has played Junior Asia Cup, has got a place in the senior team for the first time. The Indian Women's Senior Hockey Team is practicing at the national camp in Bengaluru. Bichu Devi Kharibam will be the second goalkeeper while Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Ishika Chaudhary, Udita and Sushila Chanu will maintain the defence.
While in the midfield, Nisha, Monika, Salima Tete, Neha, Navneet Kaur, Sonika, Baljeet Kaur, Vaishnavi Phalke and Jyoti Chhatri will take the charge. At the same time, the forward line will have Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Sangita Kumari and Deepika.
Head coach Janneke Schopman said, "The Spain and Germany tours will be a great opportunity for our team to show their ability and skills on an international stage again and to continue our preparation for the Asian Games. I am excited as the players are performing at a high level this camp and they have been working tirelessly to improve their game and both tours will be a perfect platform for us to test ourselves against strong opponents. We will focus on maintaining a strong team unity and executing our strategies. Our goal is to play our own game and utilize the learnings of this camp and last tour."
"The tours will also be crucial for us in regards to the upcoming Asian Games as they will provide us with valuable insights and help us identify areas where we can further enhance our performance. It's important for us to learn from each match and grow as a team." Schopman added.