Rani confident of a good show in Four Nation U-21 hockey
New Delhi: India under-21 hockey team captain Poonam Rani is confident of putting up a good show when her side take on New Zealand in the 22nd edition of Lal Bahadur Shastri U-21 Four Nation Women hockey tournament at the National stadium.
With an aim to build a team for the Junior World Cup to be held in India in 2013, Rani said it was a perfect opportunity to test their skills.
"It’s a new team, the girls have come together for the first time, it will be a great opportunity for us to test our skills and build a strong unit for the Junior World Cup to be held in India in 2013," said Rani on the eve of the four-nation tournament opener.
The skipper also deposed faith in her team, saying that they are a talented lot, who do not find themselves lagging behind the other participating nations.
"All teams are equal," quipped the Haryana girl when asked which team will be the toughest to beat.
Despite losing 2-1 to Australia in their warm-up game, the captain sounded confident about her team`s chances in the tournament.
"If you see we played a good first half with the scores reading 0-0. In the second half also we played some quality hockey, though we did not went all-out as we did not want to reveal some of the set pieces ahead of the tournament," said Rani.
Rani also said that the team was not weak on any front, though she conceded that the physical makeup of the teams might be a factor, insisting that the only thing which separated the two teams were their physical attributes.
"They are tall and robust so they have a slight edge over us," she revealed.
Rani`s Australian counterpart Karri McMahon said that her team`s main aim was to prepare for the Junior World Cup and this tournament provided them with an opportunity to play against quality teams like Germany and India.
"The main aim is to build a team for the World Cup. Besides, the tournament provides us with an opportunity to play against the likes of Germany and India, which is very rare at this level," said McMahon, whose team mainly consists of under-19 players.
The German captain Katrin Bremer, meanwhile, said that her team was limited to playing against European nations only and this tournament would provide them a chance to compete against the non-European countries like India, Australia and New Zealand.