As the countdown begins for the FIH Women’s World Cup in Netherlands and Spain, there is a lot of anticipation and hope to see the Indian women’s team fly high in this prestigious quadrennial tournament particularly after the team’s heroics at the Tokyo Olympics where they finished at an impressive fourth place.
Realistic in her assessment of the team’s progress, Janneke Schopman, the team’s Chief Coach highlighted that the FIH Hockey Pro League matches has been an ideal platform for the team to raise the bar ahead of the important World Cup campaign starting July 1.
“Playing top teams in these home games, we were mostly focused on ourselves. But more than the outcome of the matches, I am satisfied with how the team has played and I believe we are headed in the right direction,” Janneke said in a free-wheeling conversation with Hockey Te Charcha, a podcast series launched by Hockey India.
The Indian Women’s team led by Savita Punia have ended the home games as table toppers in their maiden campaign in Pro League.
Talking about the team’s preparations in the forthcoming weeks ahead of the remaining FIH Pro League matches in Europe and the World Cup, Janneke said, “For the next five to six weeks, we will be in Bengaluru- in our own environment and we will train towards a common goal of doing well in the Pro League and the World Cup.”
“Our focus will be on building our physical robustness. We will work on maximizing our speed in the game. We also want to limit the risk of injury as we will be playing back-to-back Pro League and World Cup matches.”
Speaking about their opponents in pool B, in which India is grouped with England, China and New Zealand, Janneke said, “We have played England a few times in the past and we are familiar with their game and the team has played China quite a lot too but because of the pandemic, we have not seen New Zealand play in the last two years and from what I have read about them, there are a few retirements in their team and a few players are injured. But having said that, ours is a pool where anyone can beat anyone on a good day and we just need to make sure we start well.”