Savita Punia to lead India in FIH Women’s Nations Cup in Spain
New Delhi : Experienced India goalkeeper Savita Punia will continue to be in charge of the side while Deep Grace Ekka will be her deputy for the FIH Women’s Nations Cup, to be held for the first time in December this year.
Hockey India (HI) on Wednesday named a 20-member squad for the event, to be held in Valencia, Spain from December 10-17, including experienced midfielder Navjot Kaur who returns to the national setup after missing the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 due to Covid-19.
The Nations Cup is an important fixture in the international calendar as it brings in a system of promotion-relegation, where the champions will be promoted to the Women’s Pro League’s 2023-2024 season.
India are grouped in Pool B with Canada, Japan and South Africa. The other teams in the fray are Ireland, Italy, Korea and Spain, who are grouped in Pool A.Young forward Beauty Dungdung is set to make her international debut in the tournament and the team has the likes of Deep Grace, Gurjit Kaur and Nikki Pradhan in defence.
The women’s team recently won bronze at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games after making their debut in the 2021-22 Pro League season. India put up an impressive campaign in their maiden Pro League appearance, finishing behind Argentina and the Netherlands.
The team will be looking to win the FIH Women’s Nations Cup to make their second FIH Pro League appearance in 2023-2024.”I’m very happy with the performance of the entire playing group in this camp. Our level is getting higher and the group is very competitive.
It was difficult to pick 20 players but I believe this group will have a good chance to perform well and show what we have been working on,” said women’s head coach Janneke Schopman.
The squad: Goalkeepers – Savita, Bichu Devi Kharibam; Defenders – Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary; Midfielders – Nisha, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu, Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Sonika, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur; Forwards – Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sangita Kumari, Beauty Dungdung.
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