Confident India aim to retain No.1 status in Asian hockey | Hockey News
DHAKA: Eyes firmly set on retaining the numero uno standing within the continent, favourites India face a difficult campaign-opener towards Japan within the males’s Asia Cup hockey match beginning right here tomorrow.
The Asia Cup would be the starting of latest part in Indian hockey as it might be newly-appointed coach Sjoerd Marijne’s first take a look at submit the sacking of Roelant Oltmans.
It could be an arduous activity for the 43-year-old Marijne to fill within the huge sneakers of Oltmans, who made a major contribution to Indian hockey in his four-year tenure, lifting the Asian powerhouse from 12 to sixth on the planet rankings.
Final version’s runner-up India, led by midfielder Manpreet Singh, will probably be eyeing an ideal begin to their marketing campaign in Pool A which additionally options arch-rivals Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh.
Pool B, in the meantime, consists of defending champions Korea, Malaysia, China and minnows Oman.
The opening match of a match at all times holds better significance for any workforce and India too can be hoping for a optimistic begin forward of their clashes towards Bangladesh and Pakistan on October 13 and 15 respectively.
“The opening match is at all times difficult as a result of we have to recover from early nervousness and discover our rhythm. The workforce is upbeat and prepared for the primary problem,” stated skipper Manpreet on the eve of their opener.
For Manpreet and India, the Asia Cup is an opportunity to claim their supremacy within the continent.
“We’re conscious that we go into this match because the highest-ranked workforce and we are going to intention to maintain up the No.1 standing,” the skipper has stated.
The Indians final performed Japan within the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this 12 months the place they received the encounter Four-Three.
However the Indians can ill-afford to take Japan flippantly because the Japanese have proven prior to now that they’ve the flexibility to play fast-paced hockey with good assaults, making them an unpredictable workforce.
The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup was a primary instance of this unpredictability as Japan shocked reigning world champions Australia Three-2.
“We’ve seen how they play and they’re undoubtedly one of many quickest enhancing sides in Asia. We will by no means take Japan to be a straightforward workforce,” the India skipper stated.
The Asia Cup can also be India’s lone worldwide outing earlier than the yearending huge occasion — the FIH Hockey World League Remaining to be held in Bhubaneswar.
So after giving some high junior gamers good publicity within the current tour of Europe, India have named a squad which has mix of youth and expertise.
Goalkeepers Akash Chikte and Suraj Karkera retained their spots whereas defenders Harmanpreet Singh and Surender Kumar make a return after being rested for the Europe Tour.
The match may even witness the return of seasoned professionals like former skipper Sardar Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Satbir Singh and SV Sunil, who has been named the vice-captain.
The match may even give new coach Marijne a good thought about what must executed within the subsequent 15 months, which is able to witness some high-profile tournaments just like the Hockey World League Remaining, Asian Video games, Commonwealth Video games and the World Cup.
“The Asia Cup 2017 is a recent begin not only for me but additionally for the workforce which is mentally ready to return house with the title,” Marijne had stated.
“The Asia Cup is the place I’ll get to see how the workforce reacts in match conditions and the place we’re missing and wish rapid enchancment,” he added.
Within the different match of the day, Pakistan will tackle hosts Bangladesh in Pool A.