Continuing with its preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian women’s hockey team will embark on a 10-day tour of Germany on Tuesday to face the hosts in four matches.
The 18-member Indian team, led by Rani Rampal, will play against the world No. 3 side on February 27 and 28 and then on March 2 and 4. All matches will be played in Dusseldorf.
The Indian women’s hockey team’s German tour comes on the back of a lengthy trip to Argentina where it played seven matches, including three against the senior national team.
“We feel privileged to travel in a short span to play yet another top team in the world,” the Indian team’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne told Hockey India.
“Germany will be one of the favourites at the Tokyo Olympics and to test our level against them will really help in our preparations.”
Unlike the Indian hockey men’s team, who will be turning up for the FIH Pro League in the coming months, the women’s side has chosen to skip the 2020-21 edition of the competition.
This makes the tour matches crucial as the Indian eves continue their build-up for Tokyo 2020.
“We have to make the most of every opportunity we get to play against these higher-ranked teams,” Marijne said.
“Germany plays with a very unique and different style compared to Argentina and this will help us prepare for the Olympic Games. Also, since these are back-to-back matches, our level of fitness will also be tested.”
Meanwhile, the Indian vice-captain Savita Punia believes that the tour games are an opportunity for the players to stake a claim in the Indian team for the Tokyo Games.
“This will be another opportunity for our team to try out various players in different formations,” Savita, also the Indian goalkeeper, said.
Indian women’s hockey team squad for tour of Germany
Goalkeepers: Savita Punia (vice-captain and goalkeeper), Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nisha
Midfielders: Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha, Lilima Minz, Sushila Chanu, Salima Tete, Navjot Kaur
Forwards: Rani Rampal (captain), Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Sharmila Devi
Indian women’s hockey team schedule, fixtures and India match times for German tour
Saturday, 27 February: India vs Germany - 4:30 PM IST
Sunday, 28 February: India vs Germany - 4:30 PM IST
Tuesday, 2 March: India vs Germany - 4:30 PM IST
Thursday, 4 March: India vs Germany - 4:30 PM IST