The Indian women’s hockey team shall be taking on South Africa in its pool B opener of the Women’s Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg on Saturday. India is drawn with Chile, United States of America, South Africa and Argentina in Group B.
The team captained by Rani Ramphal arrived in Johannesburg one week before the commencement of the tournament to get acclimatised to the playing conditions.
Getting acclimatised to the conditions in the host city which is at an altitude of 1,753 metres was easier thanks to the high-altitude training held at the SAI Centre in Shillaroo before arriving for the event which is also a World Cup Qualifier.
“We had some good short training sessions here over the past week and the girls did well. They did not tire easily which was one of the main reasons to have the high-altitude camp. We have one session planned today (Friday) on the game pitch which will count as our final preparation before the start of the tournament,” expressed chief coach Sjoerd Marijne on the eve of the match.
“The mood in the team is quite upbeat ahead of our first match. South Africa is ranked around us (No.13 in the world) and I feel we have improved a lot over the past year and are mentally a tougher team than we were before. I am quite confident we will get off to a good start and then take it match-by-match. First goal here is to make it to the Quarter-Finals,” said striker Rani about the mood in the team.