The Indian women’s hockey team is scheduled to play two more friendlies with the Netherlands, currently ranked no. 1 in the FIH World rankings. In its ongoing tour of South Africa, India won three matches against the home team and drew a match in its four-match series against the host while it lost 1-3 to the Dutch in their first friendly tie held on January 23.
As part of its Asian Games preparations, this Tour has helped the team analyse how it adapts to playing higher and lower-ranked teams. Elaborating on the same, chief coach Janneke Schopman said, “It’s great that Hockey India has provided us with the opportunity to travel here with 22 players and play against South Africa and now the Netherlands.”
“Playing a lower-ranked and a higher-ranked team gives us the chance to see where the work areas are, the improvements we make and what is going well.”
Schopman further expressed her thoughts on a strong performance against South Africa, where the team won 5-1, 7-0, and 4-0 before registering 2-2 in the last game against the home team. “The matches against South Africa were good. It’s difficult to play a team four times but we showed great improvements in ball possession and attacking the circle. In the last game, we made some defensive errors but overall we also managed to control the games which was an important focus point for us,” stated Schopman.
Talking about the match against Netherlands, she said, “We played a good first game against the Netherlands. We struggled with their speed and quick decision making in the first quarter but we got a better handle on it later in the game and managed to compete well. We know we have to have a good individual presence against them as well as using our skills and speed ourselves in attack. Hopefully, we can show that in the next Games to come, keeping in mind we have to defend strongly against them.”
India will take on Netherlands at 7pm IST on Thursday.