Bengaluru, Jan 22: Ahead of team's departure for the New Zealand tour, India women hockey captain Rani Rampal on Wednesday said playing against higherranked teams New Zealand and Great Britain will give a boost to their Olympic preparation.
'We look forward to playing against higher ranked teams like New Zealand (World No 6) and Great Britain (World No 5). This is our first tour of the season so naturally we want to do well as it will give us a good boost in our Olympic preparation. A good start against tough teams will matter a lot," Rani said before the team’s departure for Auckland. The team led by Rani and vice-captained by Savita will take on the hosts in four matches and also play against Great Britain's national squad in their 10-day tour that ends on February 5.
India will play New Zealand Development squad on 25 January, followed by two matches against New Zealand National Team on January 27 and 29. They next play Great Britain on February 4 followed by another match against hosts New Zealand. 'While we have done well in the past against Great Britain, New Zealand is one team we look forward to do well against. They play tough, attacking hockey and they will be quite challenging," stated Captain Rani. Rani further said that the team feels Analytical Coach Janneke Schopman's experience will help the team immensely in their Olympic Year. "I think it's fantastic that she has joined our camp. We are excited to work with her and she knows our team well," Rani signed off. (UNI)