Belgium v Netherlands - FIH Men's Hockey World Cup: Final
BHUBANESWAR, ORISSA - DECEMBER 16: The Belgium players celebrate after winning on penalties during the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup Final between Belgium and the Netherlands at Kalinga Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Bhubaneswar, India. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for FIH)

With 2020 in the pipeline, the Red Panthers have returned to the training field in preparation for the second edition of the Hockey Pro League.

While their goal in 2019 was to finish as high as possible and gain points in the world ranking, 2020 will require a different approach.

Due to the non-qualification for the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Red Panthers can continue the reconstruction process that began a few years ago.

The choice to expand the group of players for the first phase of the Pro League is an important step in creating more depth, with a view to the World Cup in 2022 and the Paris Games 2024.

The renewed group leaves for Sydney on January 17 to train for a week in preparation for the games against the world’s number 2 Australia on January 25 and 26.

Then they fly on to New Zealand for a double confrontation on 1 and 2 February. Of course the two teams from Oceania are in full preparation for Tokyo, making it a difficult start for the young Red Panthers.

They had two great successes against Australia last season. De Hockeyroos will undoubtedly want to rectify this in 2020.

National coach Niels Thijssen: “It will be a tough task to start again in 2020. But with the focus on development, it is also an excellent way to start the new year and discover where we stand compared to the top teams that are preparing for an Olympic campaign. ”

After New Zealand, the journey continues to China, with competitions on 9 and 10 February. The young Anne-Sophie Vande Borre, Justine Rasir and Pauline de Ryck (GK) are the new names in the team.

These players showed last summer at the European U21 Championships in Valencia that they are ready for a first experience with the Panthers.

Compared to the 18 players who played the Olympic qualification in October, Joanne Peeters, Tiphaine Duquesne, Alexia ‘t Serstevens, Lucie Breyne, Charlotte Englebert and Elena Sotgiu rejoin the group that will play the Pro League matches.

Aline Fobe has decided to focus (temporarily) on her career at PwC. We will return to this in more detail in the coming days. In addition, the staff, in consultation with Alix Gerniers and in view of the great disappointment of the non-qualification in China, decided not to include her again in the team for this trip, but to bring her in February, after the trip,reconnect.

And finally it was decided that Elodie Picard could go to work at the Indoor Red Panthers this winter, where she will have the chance to play the European Indoor Championships.

This framework will allow her to continue to work intensively on her development, to rejoin the group in February.

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