Players are raring to get back into the international circuit this year.
It’s been almost one year since the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams took the field in an international match. The men’s team played their last international match against Australia on 22 February 2020 at the FIH Hockey Pro League, while the women’s team played their last international match against New Zealand on 05 February 2020, during their tour of New Zealand, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the entire world.
However, they have a very important tournament to look forward to in 2021. With the Olympics being postponed due to the pandemic, this year becomes one of the most important years for both the teams.
The women’s hockey team will return to the international circuit with the tour Argentina this month. The side is scheduled to play eight matches against the host nation from 17 January 2021 to 31 January 2021. Captain Rani Rampal said that she is looking forward to seeing how her teammates respond to an international match situation.
Rani said, “We are very excited to make our return to the international circuit. The year 2020 was really tough for us, however, we continued to practice our skills in the national coaching camp. All the players in the team are feeling very confident about their games and it will be interesting to see how each one of them performs in a match situation after staying away from the international circuit for almost one year.”
“If we play to our potential against Argentina then we will attain a lot of confidence for the all-important Olympics, where we are aiming nothing short of a medal. Hopefully, we can make history in Tokyo and make our country proud. We are going to give our absolute best in every match we play this year.”
Hockey India has been in talks with different nations to organize a tour for the Indian men’s hockey team as well. Captain Manpreet Singh expressed that the side is looking forward to much-needed match practice before the Olympics.
Manpreet remarked, “We are very excited about getting back into the international circuit. We are really looking forward to playing against an international team before the Olympics. A few matches against a good team will help us prepare for the Olympics.”
“This year is very important for us. We have practiced very hard in the last few months and have raised our game to a level that is close to which we usually operate in international games. If we play to our potential at the Olympics in July, then we will surely bring glory to our country. We have to go into the Olympics with a mindset of clinching a medal,” he concluded.