Rani to lead India in Women's Asia Cup 2017

ANI | Updated: Oct 16, 2017 12:45 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct 16 (ANI): Striker Rani will lead the 18-member India squad while goalkeeper Savita will shoulder the duties of vice-captain for the 9th Women's Asia Cup 2017, which starts from October 28 in Kakamigahara City, Japan.

The team selected for the upcoming Asia Cup has a total of five changes from their Europe Tour of Netherlands and Belgium.

Experienced defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam makes a comeback into the team while forwards Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur and Sonika have also been included.

The goal will be kept by Savita and Rajani Etimarpu while the defensive duties will be given to Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Suman Devi Thoudam and Gurjit Kaur.

The midfield will feature Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Lilima Minz and Neha Goyal; as Rani, Vandana Katariya and Lalremsiami will feature in the forward line.

This will be the first assignment with the team for new head coach Harendra Singh as he looks towards a strong performance in Japan with qualification for next year's Hockey Women's World Cup London 2018 being his top priority.

"We have a very good blend of youth and experience within our team which will help us in negating the tasks ahead of us at the Women's Asia Cup. The team has played against higher ranked teams in the build-up to the tournament which has helped us in improving our game. We have made several minors adjustments and improvements in our game so that we don't repeat unforced errors in our play. We will be aiming to win the Women's Asia Cup 2017 in order to qualify for next year's World Cup," Singh said.

Meanwhile, captain Rani is also confident that the team can perform well at Women's Asia Cup.

She said, "We have made improvements in our game wherever it was necessary. I feel the team is playing well as a unit and there is a good sense of cohesion in our squad. We are looking forward to performing well in Japan so that we can qualify for the World Cup."

India have been placed in Pool A alongside China, Malaysia and Singapore and will start off their campaign at the Women's Asia Cup 2017 against Singapore.

Ahead of their departure for Japan, the team will continue to train at Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru until October 23.

Squad:

Savita (VC), Rajani Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra , Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Suman Devi Thokam, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Namita Toppo, Monika , Lilima Minz , Neha Goyal , Rani (C), Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Sonika, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur.(ANI)

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