Acclimatising to the cold Spanish conditions and making final adjustments to their game will be key to India’s success at the FIH Women’s Nations Cup, said the team’s chief coach Janneke Schopman.
The FIH Nations Cup begins on December 11 here. India is grouped in Pool B along side Canada, Japan and South Africa, while Pool A consists of Ireland, Italy, Korea and hosts Spain.
The 2022 FIH Women’s Nations Cup is an important fixture in the international calendar as it brings in a promotion-relegation system. The champions from this event will be promoted to the 2023-24 FIH Hockey Women’s Pro League.
After arriving here nearly two weeks before to get acclimatised to the conditions, the Indians played three practice matches against Spain.
“It’s cold here but training has been going well, we have been able to build on our training during the national camp in SAI, Bangalore. The practice matches were very beneficial, it showed us exactly where we need to put some extra focus on come the tournament. Overall, all games were competitive and pretty even based,” said Schopman.
The Indian team, led by goalkeeper Savita, lost the first practice match 0-1 before drawing 1-1 and losing 1-3.
India will play Ireland in another practice game on Thursday before starting their campaign against Canada on Sunday.
“We will use this week to take the lesson from the Spain game and focus on these areas in training. We play Ireland on Thursday as well and we expect it to be a good game,” Schopman said.
After finishing an impressive third in their maiden FIH Hockey Pro League appearance last season, India will be vying for a place in next year’s event by winning the FIH Nations Cup.
“The players are aware of what is at stake in this tournament. They know playing in next year’s Pro League will be beneficial for them as they prepare for the Asian Games and the Paris Olympics,” Schopman said.