The Indian Women’s Hockey team were out on tour as they visited South Africa and played a four match series and then followed it up with three friendlies against the World No.1 Dutch team. It has been a week since they have returned back to India and captain and goalkeeper Savita Punia feels it has been a very wholesome and positive tour for the team as they saw the highs and lows on the road.
While the Indian eves have been dominant against South Africa as they won the first three matches and finished it up with a draw. They started off with a dominant 5-1 win and followed it up with a confidence boosting 7-0. They also won the third match 4-0 but the last match against the hosts ended in a 2-2 draw.
The matches against Netherlands were far more challenging as the Indian eves faced the World No.1 team and they lost all three matches by the similar scoreline of 1-3.
Savita Punia shares that the year is very important with the Asian Games scheduled later this year and also they have an eye on the Paris Olympics in 2024. Summing up the foreign tour she highlighted, “It’s a very important year for us as we are aiming for direct qualification for Paris Olympics by winning the Asian Games. Last time, we came so close to winning the Gold, losing only by a goal to Japan but this year we are optimistic, particularly because we have got some very good international exposure over the last few years and we are way more confident and aggressive in crunch matches.”
Savita shared how the wins against South Africa gave the team the much needed boost. She also addressed the matches against Netherlands and felt that the experience has allowed the team to bond much better than before. She highlighted how the team enjoyed each other’s company and it will help them build chemistry in the long run.
“We have begun the year quite positively, winning three matches and a draw against South Africa followed by good matches against the Netherlands. The tour also helped us bond better as a team, we went around Cape Town – a beautiful city and the team really enjoyed being out there,” added the Indian skipper.
The Indian Women’s Hockey team is currently on a break and will return to SAI Bengaluru on 12th February. They Will go through a six week camp at the SAI facility and the team will focus on strength and conditioning, one of the major areas of improvement for the Indian Women’s Hockey team. Coach Janneke Schopman will also be looking at some improvisations on technical aspects as the management will review their performance in Cape Town.
Savita understands that the camp will give the coach an idea of the players who are all set to be in the Asian Games squad as she will also analyze the areas they need to improve. “Chief Coach Janneke will once again review our performance in Cape Town and we will have individual as well as team meetings to analyze the areas that need to improve. I believe the next six months ahead of Asian Games is going to be quite exciting with each player wanting to showcase their best and make the Asian Games squad,” Savita Punia concluded.