The Indian women’s hockey team left for Valencia, Spain from their training base in Bengaluru on Saturday evening and will be participating in the 2022 FIH Women’s Nations Cup from 11-17 December.

The Nations Cup is an important fixture in the international calendar as it brings in a system of promotion-relegation, where the Champions will be promoted to the 2023-24 FIH Hockey Women’s Pro League.

Goalkeeper Savita Punia will lead the 20-member squad and is confident of a good outing in the tournament after a productive camp at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru.

“Our team worked really hard in the camp to prepare for the upcoming 2022 FIH Women’s Nations Cup. We are determined to win the tournament as it will also allow us to participate in the next season of the Pro League,” she said.

India is grouped in Pool B along with Canada, Japan and South Africa, while Ireland, Italy, Korea and Spain, who are grouped in Pool A.

Savita said, “Our team is experienced in terms of playing in challenging tournaments such as the Nations Cup. We will go up against Canada, Japan and South Africa in the group stage and all our players have to be on top of their game to win these matches. For India, this is a chance to get some important game time under our belts too and looking ahead it will also serve as good preparation for the upcoming Asian Games and the 2024 Paris Olympics.”

Vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka also seemed positive about the upcoming tournament, stating that it will be a great opportunity for some young players to show their true potential.

“All the players are really excited to play. We have played in Valencia before and are familiar with the surroundings. It will certainly help us to perform better in the tournament. It will be a huge opportunity for the young players to show case their abilities at the international stage. We will learn a lot from the tournament and our only aim is to win the trophy,” she added.