The 18-member Indian men’s hockey team, led by midfielder Manpreet Singh, on Monday left for the 5th Hero Asian Champions Trophy, starting October 18 in Muscat. World No. 5 India will begin their campaign against host Oman before taking on Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea and Japan. Also Read - India Hockey Star Gurjant Singh Hopes to Prove His Mettle Before Tokyo Olympics
Speaking ahead of the team’s departure, captain Manpreet Singh said: “We have had a tough few months as we could not achieve our target of winning the Gold Medal at the 18th Asian Games, but it is time now for all of us to rejuvenate ourselves and prepare well for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.” Also Read - Gyanendro Ningombam Elected Unopposed as Hockey India President
“The 5th Men’s Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 will give the team a chance to face some of the best Asian teams, who will also be involved in the World Cup later in November-December, therefore we will try to produce our best performances and aim at winning the competition,” he added. Also Read - Just The Beginning of my Career, Need to Improve on Many Aspects: India Hockey Midfielder Vivek Prasad
With the Indian team facing competition from World No. 12 Malaysia, arch-rivals Pakistan, World No. 14 South Korea, Asian Games 2018 Gold Medallists Japan, and hosts Oman, the tournament will give the Indian team the opportunity to avoid committing the mistakes which lost them the semi-final against Malaysia in the 18th Asian Games 2018.
“We have trained well during our National Camp in Bhubaneswar, and have focused on minimizing the mistakes in our overall play. We all knew that there were areas that needed work and the team has been determined in making things right as we approach the biggest two months in all of our careers,” expressed Manpreet.
The Indian team will go into the 5th Men’s Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 as the Defending Champions, after having won the title in 2016 when they beat Pakistan 3-2 in the Final match held in Kuantan, Malaysia.
(With IANS Inputs)