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Indian women gear up for South Africa tour

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Bengaluru : Hockey India, the apex body governing the sport in the country, today announced the women’s national squad for the tour of South Africa, which includes matches against Germany, Scotland besides the hosts.

The tour which is one of the many international exposure tours planned for the Indian eves ahead of the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio will see Ritu Rani lead the team with assistance from Deepika.

The team who have qualified for the summer Olympics for the first time in 36 years will play under the guidance of chief coach Neil Hawgood from February 20 to March 1 across various locations in South Africa.

The Indian team will play two matches each against the national teams of Germany, Scotland and South Africa. Further matches are planned against the South African U21 squad.

The Indian goalpost will be guarded by Savita, Rajani Etimarpu and Yogita Bali, while the defensive wall will comprise of Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, Nameeta Toppo, Jaspreet Kaur, Sunita Lakra, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Gurjit Kaur and Rashmita Minz.

The pack of midfielders will comprise of Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli, Renuka Yadav, Lily Chanu Mayengbam, Narinder Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, and Manpreet Kaur. The Indian attack will consist of Rani, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Preeti Dubey and Navpreet Kaur.

Speaking ahead of the tour, Hawgood said, “We are looking forward to the tour which will take place right after the South Asian Games. We are up against three world class teams and it will help us immensely in our preparations ahead of the Rio Olympics.

“We are taking a larger squad for the tour to South Africa so that we can assess more probables as we lead into the Olympics. There a few other international exposure trips that have been planned and all these trips will serve the purpose of preparing the girls for Rio later this year.”

The team will be heading to Guwahati, Assam to play the South Asian Games against Sri Lanka and Nepal from 11-7 February.

Team:

GOALKEEPERS: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu, Yogita Bali

DEFENDERS: Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika (VC), Namita Toppo, Jaspreet Kaur, Sunita Lakra, Susila Chanu Pukhrambam, Gurjit Kaur, Rashmita Minz

MIDFIELDERS: Ritu Rani (C), Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli, Renuka Yadav, Lily Chanu Mayengbam, Narinder Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Manpreet Kaur

FORWARDS: Rani Rampal, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Preeti Dubey, Navpreet Kaur.

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