Red Panthers look to the future

Barbara Nelen is the multi capped (258) captain of the Belgium Red Panthers and, with just over a week to go before her team take on the might of Germany in Dusseldorf, the 28-year-old says the players are “super-excited” to be back in action. 

It has been a tough few months for the Belgium team (World ranking:12). Despite a very good performance in the inaugural season of the FIH Hockey Pro League – in which the lowest ranked team [at the time] punched high above their weight – they failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Over the past few months, starting well before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the squad did a lot of restructuring and will now be in a re-building phase as the Pro League returns to action. There is a buzz about the coaching staff and players that suggests a bright future for the new-look Red Panthers.

The team will need to be on top of their game. Germany (WR: 4) has won the past two FIH Hockey Pro League encounters, and will have the advantage of a home fixture. Belgium will be looking to make the most of their neat, paced passing game, which has become their trademark under the leadership of Head Coach Niels Thijssen.

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