Savita Punia To Lead India Women's Hockey Team In FIH Nations Cup In December, Navjot Kaur Makes Comeback
FIH Nation's Cup: Goalkeeper Savita Punia will continue to lead the team while veteran defender Deep Grace Ekka will be her deputy.
India on Wednesday named a 20-member team for the women's FIH Nations Cup hockey tournament to be played in Valencia, Spain from December 11 to 17 with midfielder Navjot Kaur making a return after missing out the Commonwealth Games earlier this year. Goalkeeper Savita Punia will continue to lead the team while veteran defender Deep Grace Ekka will be her deputy. The FIH Women's Nations Cup is an important fixture in the international calendar as the champions of this tournament will be promoted to the FIH Women's Pro League 2023-2024 season.
India are grouped in Pool B along with Chile, Japan and South Africa while Pool A consists of Ireland, Italy, Korea and Spain.
India will open their campaign against Chile on the opening day of the tournament.
Young forward Beauty Dungdung is all set to make her international debut at the tournament while the experienced Navjot Kaur returns to the squad after missing the Birmingham Commonwealth Games due to COVID-19 infection.
The team also includes, reserve goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam, while drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita and Ishika Chaudhary will form the defensive line along with Ekka.
The midfield will feature Nisha, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu Kharibam, Monika, Neha, Sonika, Jyoti and Navjot Kaur, while the forwardline will have Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sangita Kumari and Dungdung.
The Indian women, who recently won bronze at the Birmingham CWG in August, finished an impressive third in their maiden outing in the 2021-22 FIH Pro League, behind Argentina and the Netherlands.
The upcoming tournament will provide the Indians an opportunity to qualify for FIH Pro League 2023-2024 season.
"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," chief coach Janneke Schopman said in a statement issued by Hockey India.
The Team: Goalkeepers: Savita (captain), Bichu Devi Kharibam.
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (vice-captain), 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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