Bhubaneswar, Nov 23: Defending Champions India will look to retain their trophy as the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2021 kicks off on 24 November. Having watched closely the India Colts train for the prestigious event, India Senior Men’s Team Captain Manpreet Singh and ace goalkeeper PR Sreejesh reflected their thoughts on the team’s preparedness.
“The team has been doing fantastic during the last couple of months in Bengaluru. Recently, we played a couple of games against them. They seemed ready to start the tournament,” stated PR Sreejesh, who was recently conferred with the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award.
“They actually beat us in one of the games we played. I am pretty confident they have the ability to reach the Final. And if they continue to play as a team throughout the tournament, they can win the trophy,” stated Manpreet Singh who led the Indian Men’s Hockey Team to a historic Bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Manpreet also revealed the advice he gave to dynamic midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad, who will be shouldering the Captaincy duties in the tournament for India.
“I have spoken to Vivek many times. I told him the main thing for them is to remain as a team. Winning and losing is part of the game. But when we lose, there is a tendency to point fingers, but I told him that the team should not do that, and just focus on your game, and just stay as a team. And that will help you win every match,” he said.
Sreejesh said the Indian players will miss the fans at FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021 but playing at the iconic Kalinga Stadium will be a good learning experience for the young team.
“I think the players will miss playing in front of the big crowd. That is the beauty of the Kalinga Stadium, the cheers, the sound, they will miss that. Still, I feel the atmosphere will help them to perform really well and will be a big learning experience,” added the goalie.
India will kick off their campaign on November 24, facing off against France in their opening contest.