Legendary attacking midfielder Luciana Aymar has been named in the Argentina squad that will compete in next month’s Rabo FIH Champions Trophy, which takes in Amsterdam at the historic Wagener Stadium.
The current and seven time FIH World Player of the Year returns to the squad for the first time since the BDO FIH World Cup in Rosario (Argentina), a tournament in which she produced a number of mesmerising displays to guide Las Leonas to glory on home soil.
The brilliant midfielder – nicknamed La Maga (The Magician) – has been named in a squad which contains many World Cup winners as well as a sprinkling of new faces as Coach Carlos Retegui begins building toward the dream of winning Gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
Although the return of Aymar is a huge boost to the team, Retegui has also had to cope with a number of high profile retirements. Following the World Cup victory, veterans Mariana Rossi, Alejandra Gulla, Marine Russo, Claudia Burkart and Romina Vatteone all stepped down from international duty. They are replaced by five players who will be hoping to play key roles in the next great Las Leonas team – Victoria Zuloaga, Josefina Sruoga, Rocío Sánchez Moccia, Florencia Habif and Sofía Maccari. Strong performances at the Rabo FIH Champions Trophy – where Argentina are going for a fourth title in succession – will give these players every chance of being long-term representatives for their country.
In a recent interview, Carlos Retegui discussed his feelings about the key player retirements and their subsequent replacements. “These five are irreplaceable”, said Retegui, “but there are others who are also able to reach a superlative level and they have been asking for playing time for a while. We can grow a lot because we are a young team with great potential.”
When asked what the ambitions of the team are, Retegui replied: “Now we dream about playing like Barcelona in football, and the national team can do it. They did it in the World Cup at times. When we started two years ago, our mission was to be the best team of all time. During this time, we have won everything, but we have to work harder. The good thing is that there is constantly more desire and energy. I hope that this desire to achieve more will be maintained.”
The Rabo FIH Champions Trophy 2011 takes place in The Netherlands from 25th June to 3rd July, and will feature eight teams fighting for the title: Argentina, Australia, China, England, Germany, Korea, Netherlands and New Zealand. In preparation for the event, Argentina will play in a Four Nations tournament in Berlin from 16-19 June 2011 against Australia, Korea and Germany.
Argentina squad – Rabo FIH Champions Trophy, Amsterdam
Rocío Sánchez Moccia
To see a video of Luciana Aymar in action, please click here.
Source Material: Confederación Argentina de Hockey