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Goalkeeper Savita to lead India in FIH Women’s Nations Cup in Spain

The Indian women’s hockey team recently clinched bronze at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games



For the inaugural FIH Women’s Nations Cup in December, Deep Grace Ekka will serve as Savita Punia’s deputy, while the seasoned India goalkeeper Savita continues to lead the team.

The 20-member team was announced by Hockey India (HI) on Wednesday. It includes veteran midfielder Navjot Kaur, who rejoins the national team after missing the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games due to Covid-19. The competition will take place in Valencia, Spain from December 10–17.

The Nations Cup is a crucial event on the international calendar since it implements a promotion-relegation system, where the winners advance to the 2023–2024 Women’s Pro League season.

India is placed in Pool B with Canada, Japan and South Africa. The other teams in the fray are Ireland, Italy, Korea and Spain, who are grouped in Pool A.

Young forward Beauty Dungdung is set to make her international debut in the tournament and the team has the likes of Deep Grace, Gurjit Kaur and Nikki Pradhan in defence.

The Indian women hockey team recently clinched bronze at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games after making their debut in the 2021-22 Pro League season.

India put up an impressive campaign in their maiden Pro League appearance, finishing behind Argentina and the Netherlands. The team will be looking to win the FIH Women’s Nations Cup to make their second FIH Pro League appearance in 2023-2024.

“I’m very happy with the performance of the entire playing group in this camp. Our level is getting higher and the group is very competitive. It was difficult to pick 20 players but I believe this group will have a good chance to perform well and show what we have been working on,” said women’s head coach Janneke Schopman.

The squad: Goalkeepers – Savita, Bichu Devi Kharibam; Defenders — Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary; Midfielders – Nisha, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu, Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Sonika, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur; Forwards — Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sangita Kumari, Beauty Dungdung.

(inputs from IANS)