Rani to lead India on tour of Europe
Striker Rani Rampal will lead Indian women’s hockey team on a tour of Europe. The Indian team will play four matches against Spain and two against Ireland as a part of its preparation for the Olympic Qualifier later this year.
Hockey India on Friday named the 18-member Indian team that starts its campaign with a game against Spain on January 26. Savita will be the vice-captain.
The team includes goalkeepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu. Besides, it features T defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam who makes a comeback after missing out on the 2018 Women’s World Cup and the 18th Asian Games due to injury.
Defender Salima Tete, who led the India U-18 team to a Silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, has also been named in the team along with experienced Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Nikki Pradhan and drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur.
Lilima Minz, Karishma Yadav, Sonika and Neha Goyal have been entrusted the responsibility of midfield while the skipper and experienced Rani will head the forward line that includes Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Udita and Navjot Kaur.
“The team has a different mix of players this time with some of the key players like Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo among few other experienced players being rested. The idea was to give more players a chance to experience playing at a top level so we can create more depth in our selection ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers,” stated Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne about the team selection.
The Indian team will leave on January 24 for the European tour.