Savita to lead Indian team at Women’s Asian Champions Trophy

  • Rani Rampal has been rested for next month's Women's Asian Champions Trophy and Savita will lead the Indian team in her absence.
India goalkeeper and now captain Savita Punia. (Getty)
India goalkeeper and now captain Savita Punia. (Getty)
Published on Nov 19, 2021 01:23 PM IST
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PTI | , New Delhi

Rani Rampal has been rested for next month's Women's Asian Champions Trophy and Savita will lead the Indian team in her absence. Hockey India named an 18-member India squad for the tourney on Friday and with India's regular captain Rani is in rehabilitation in Bengaluru, Experienced defender Deep Grace Ekka will be supporting Savita as vice-captain.

Forwards Lalremsiami and Sharmila Devi and midfielder Salima Tete, who were part of the Indian team that finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, miss out. The three are part of the junior squad, which will vie for the top honours at the FIH World Cup, starting in South Africa from December 5.

Namita Toppo and Lilima Minz, both of whom are from Odisha, are also part of the team. The forward line will see two-time Olympian Vandana Katariya lead the charge with Navneet Kaur, who also was part of the Tokyo Olympic squad. Forwards Rajwinder Kaur, Mariana Kujur and Sonika, too, have been named in the squad.

The midfield includes Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nisha, Monika, Neha, Jyoti. Navjot Kaur and youngster Suman Devi Thoudam have been chosen as alternate players, who will be permitted to play only if there is an injury or someone in the 18-member squad is ruled out of the tournament due to Covid-19.

Speaking about the team composition, chief coach Janneke Schopman said, "Despite some unfortunate injuries and Senior players joining the Junior team for the Junior World Cup in South Africa, I feel we have selected a good team for the upcoming Women's Asian Champions Trophy."

This will be Schopman's first assignment as head coach having taken over from Sjoerd Marijne. She was earlier serving as the side's analytical coach. "This tournament will be a good opportunity for some young new players to get a taste of the highest international level and I'm excited to see if we can implement our training themes consistently.

"I'm sure that expectations are high after our success at the Tokyo Olympics but we all start at zero again. I am confident that we can show our abilities and will be looking for our team to play consistently at a high pace," Schopman added.

The Women's Asian Champions Trophy will be held in Donghae, South Korea, from December 5-12. While India will play its opening match against Thailand on December 5, it plays Malaysia a day later, on December 6, and defending champion South Korea in its third game on December 8. India then play China and Japan on December 8 and 11, respectively.

The final will take place on December 12 between the topper of the pool and the team that finished second in the pool. This will be the India's first tournament since the Tokyo Olympics. In the previous edition held in 2018, India had finished runner-up behind South Korea.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021