Hockey India on Friday named an unchanged women squad, to be led by Rani Rampal, along with the men’s team for the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers. The 18-member men’s squad will be captained by Manpreet Singh and seasoned forward SV Sunil will be his deputy.
Goalkeeper Savita will be the vice-captain of the women’s squad.
The two teams are scheduled to take part in the two-legged FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers in Odisha where the World No 5 Indian men’s team will be up against World No 22 Russia, while the World No 9 women’s hockey side will face World No 13 USA.
The men’s team has two goalkeepers in PR Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak. Captain Manpreet leads the forward line which also includes Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, and Ramandeep Singh.
“After a good preparation tour in Belgium, it was always going to be a very difficult decision to pick the best 18 players for this tournament. We have chosen a well-balanced side with a number of good flexible options,” said men’s chief coach Graham Reid.
“We now need to focus on strategies against Russia, and ensure we are at our best when we step onto the field on 1st and 2nd November.”
The women’s team remained unchanged from its tour of England. Experienced goalkeepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu will guard the goal, while drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, Sushila Chanu, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur and Sharmila Devi will serve as the outfield players.
“We have a good balance and mixture of players in the squad. It is important to stay in the rhythm with the same players who performed well in the preparatory tour. We now focus on making sure that we leave no stone unturned when we take on USA in the two matches,” said women’s team coach Sjoerd Marijne.
The winners of the qualifiers will ensure their place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Men’s Squad: Manpreet Singh (C), PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Simranjeet Singh.
Women’s squad: Rani Rampal (C), Savita, Rajani Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Namita Toppo, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur and Sharmila Devi.