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Rani excited about playing men's team in Belgium (9/6/2017)
--s2h team
Now its the turn of women. Shortly after their male counterparts made their Europe Tour last month, an 18-member Indian Women’s Hockey Team has left India the other day for an Europe tour, first to Holland followed by Belgium. For a change, the team will engage Junior men's team in Belgium to obtain the elusive competitive edge. This part of the tour excite the whole team.

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Captain and veteran Rani Ramphal is excited on the prospects of playing men in the tour.

“This is for the first time we play an international against national men’s junior team. Actually, we play a lot of practice matches against our Indian team's Junior men's side during our national amps. Therefore, the team looks forward to playing against the Belgium’s Junior National team, who are the Junior World Cup finalists. It will be challenging no doubt, but I am confident we will learn a lot from this exposure,” she said ahead of the team’s departure.

The team had a three-week national camp at SAI, Bengaluru. The team led by striker Rani Ramphal has in-form goalkeeper Savita as vice-Captain. The team will play four matches during their tour, the first and third of which will be against Women's Den Bosch on September 8 and 15 in Netherlands. They will also play two matches against the Belgium Junior Men’s team on September 11 and 18 in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Europe Tour will be a good experience ahead of the all-important Asia Cup next month in Japan where the team will look to win the title.

“The idea of playing the Men’s team was to toughen our team mentally and also the pace of the game will be much faster. The National Camp was good as we played two matches with the Men’s team here in Bengaluru every week and the girls have put in a lot of hard work in this camp. Asia Cup is important and in my opinion, at the moment the Indian team is the No.1 side in Asia and there’s no doubt that we will be gunning for the title. However, before that, we want to make sure our preparation is thorough and we have left no stones unturned. In this tour, we give some young girls the opportunity to show themselves in high level matches as it will create competition within the team. It will result in bringing up the level of the players, therefore I am looking forward to see them play,” stated Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.

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