Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: It is going to be a very tough Junior World Hockey Cup, scheduled at Bhubaneswar from 24 November, predicted Indian Chief Coach Graham Reid.
Reid, who is overseeing the team’s training, feels that the players are excited to compete with the world’s best teams on home ground in Bhubaneswar.
“There is definitely a lot of excitement among the players and there is some anxiousness too as we are yet to pick the final team that will be played in the Junior World Cup. But having said that, the players are all very upbeat and are looking forward to playing in Bhubaneswar as they have heard a lot about the venue from their senior compatriots,” Reid told Hockey India
India Colts are grouped in Pool B along with France, Canada, and Poland. They will open their campaign on 24th November against France. the hosts will play their second pool B match on 25th November against Canada and will play Poland in their third pool match on 27th November.
Talking about the pool stage and the teams India is grouped with, Reid coach of the Indian Team which to won an Olympic Bronze Medal in Tokyo, said, “No team can be taken lightly in an event like the World Cup. I always tell the players to take it one match at a time and not get ahead of overselves at any point in the tournament until we have achieved what we have set out for.
‘What is important for us is to get some good practice matches in Bhubaneswar so the players get a feel of the pitch and I am talking to coaches of some European teams to see if we can play friendlies with them when they arrive “
Commenting on Reid’s remarks, Coach BJ Kariappa who has been with the Colts team since 2017 opined that this is a talented bunch and is ready to put up a good challenge.
“The good thing about our preparations is that both Junior and Senior Men are housed in the same campus here in SAI, Bengaluru. So, we get to play a lot of internal matches with the Senior Team and the energy within the group is great and each one is pushing the other player to perform on a daily basis. This group has some really talented players with good skills. I believe we are ready for the challenge in Bhubaneswar.”
The other 15 teams in the fray at the Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar are Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, and the United States.