Hockey India announced a special coaching camp and international matches for the Indian sub-junior men’s and women’s team with former Indian captains Sardar Singh, and Rani Rampal taking up the mentorship and coach’s role.

According to a release issued by Hockey India on Thursday, the coaching camp will aim to promote and develop a strong grassroot structure and provide the sub junior talent with a high performance environment.

The sub-junior men’s and women’s camp will be for 45-50 days and will commence from August 21 at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, Rourkela, which has state-of-the-art facilities. The camp will then be followed by international matches in Europe – Belgium and the Netherlands.

A total of 40 players each will be selected for the sub-junior men and sub-junior women camps. The players have been chosen on basis their recent performances in the Hockey India sub-junior National Championships.

Additionally, a qualified coaching staff consisting of a coach, two assistant coaches, two physios, two masseuse and a trainer will be accompanying each team.

Although Rampal ruled out retirement plans, she said she was excited about the prospect of coaching the sub-junior side. Meanwhile, Singh said he wants to help Hockey India in creating a larger pool of players for Indian hockey.

Talking about the initiative, Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey said, “We believe it is crucial to induct players in this age group to a programme that is on the same lines of the junior and senior camps that are ongoing in SAI, Bengaluru.”

Rampal too had similar views as she emphasized on the importance of a strong national program in this age category. She said, “The playing structure will also be similar to what’s followed by the senior teams so, I believe this camp will be a big step forward in the growth of the sport.”

Hockey India General Secretary Bhola Nath Singh said that the main reason for introducing these new sub-junior teams and national camps is to ensure they progress beyond the national level. He also said: “While we have been relying on foreign coaches of late, we decided that we must give our ex-players a chance and platform to become a good coach. On the same note, I thank Sardar Singh and Rani Rampal for having accepted the roles.”