Ritu Rani to lead eves in HWL semis

Ritu Rani to lead eves in HWL semis

Ritu Rani to lead eves in HWL semis

Ritu Rani will lead an 18-member squad for the upcoming Hockey World League semifinal, Hockey India announced on Monday.

Defender Deepika has been named the vice-captain for the tournament where a top four finish can ensure then a historic Olympic berth in Rio next year.

India open their campaign against hosts Belgium in Pool B on June 20. Other teams in the group are Australia, New Zealand and Poland. In pool A, the Netherlands, Korea, Japan, Italy and Azerbaijan will fight for the two semifinal spots.

Ritu exuded confidence about the chances of the team. “The team is in very good shape. With our recent performance in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi and the Hawke’s Bay Cup in New Zealand, we have seen improvement in our game and we are trying to rectify the mistakes we committed in our previous tournaments,” she said.

“We are learning new strategies under the new coach. The atmosphere is very positive and we are confident of taking on our opponents.”Ahren, who has recently joined the team, had earlier pointed at the lack of time to set definite targets for the side. However, he was satisfied with the progress shown by it.

 “The team is doing very well and improving perfectly. We have pointed out mistakes and loopholes in the previous matches and we are positively working on those issues. The players are keen learners and work really hard, which is a very good thing for the team. We will just focus on our strategies and play our best game. I am sure that we will see a good competition in FIH Hockey World League semifinal,” said Ahren.

Squad: Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajini Etimarpul; Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Sushila Chanu; Midfielders: Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Lily Chanu, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Renuka Yadav; Forwards: Rani, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Anuradha Devi, Soundarya Yendala.