Just a day after Poland and Russia hockey team arrived in India, the squad of USA also joined them as they arrived at the Biju Patnaik International Airport on Saturday to take part in the upcoming FIH series Finals. After the arrival, USA team captain Ajai Dhadwal said that his team is strong and confident. “Preparation is good, we have been in Holland for the last couple of weeks having training and practice matches. We had a few practice matches against club teams and then we went to Ireland and played two matches against Ireland. So, everything is pretty good and the team is looking strong and confident. We are looking forward to this tournament,” Dhadwal told reporters.
The FIH series will help teams to test their abilities and skills in the tournament. Moreover, the tournament will provide them with an opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. There are eight teams that will take part in the FIH Series Finals and are divided into two: Pool A, consisting of team India, Poland, Russia and Uzbekistan, whereas South Africa, Japan, Mexico, and USA form the Pool B. Dhadwal feels that the pool they are in is strong and he wants to take one game at a time in the tournament.
“Yes, it is important for Olympic qualifiers process. So, hopefully, we can take one game at a time and then finish in the top two to qualify for the next round. It is a strong group, every team is different. We have played Mexico a few times before; with Japan also we have played before. I am not sure if we have played South Africa in a long time, so, we just have to do out preparation well,” he said.
From Pool A, USA will play against South Africa whereas from Pool B, India will take on Russia and Poland will compete with Uzbekistan on June 6 at the Kalinga Stadium.