At the upcoming Hero Asia Cup 2017, Indian men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh has insisted that they will aim to finish at the top. The tournament begins in Dhaka on October 1.
There are only 45 days to go for the much-awaited tournament, the team is back to the grind at Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru for a 40-day national camp.
A core group of 35 members, which features as many as 13 players from last year’s Junior World Cup winning team, will be put to test in the next coaching camp set to commence from August 26.
The 25-year-old Manpreet Singh who led the team to three successive wins in Europe stated, “There is no doubt that we need to finish the Hero Asia Cup 2017 as winners. This is an important camp where we need to set our game right and ensure there are no weak points before leaving for the tournament. The players have come with a mind-set to give more than 100 per cent in each session.” Then he again added, “Each one of us regardless of being a senior or junior will have to earn our place in the team and I am sure this competition within the core group will help improve our overall performance as a team.”
Junior World Cup Champions Vikas Dahiya (goalkeeper), defenders Dipsan Tirkey, Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, midfielders Harjeet Singh, Manpreet Junior, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit and forwards Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Armaan Qureshi along with goalkeeper Suraj Karkera, who was part of the junior core group last year, find themselves in the core group.
“With new comers putting up a good performance in the Europe Tour, it’s an advantage for us to have a strong and bigger pool of players who will be available for selections for the Hero Asia Cup 2017,” said Manpreet Singh.
The Indian team in their previous outing beat World No.4 Netherlands in back-to-back matches followed by a win against Austria. The five-match Europe Tour saw six Indian players make their debut with Varun Kumar, Gurjant Singh and Armaan Qureshi scoring their first international goal for the senior squad, making it a memorable tour.
While there is a strong presence of youth in the core group, the likes of experienced Sardar Singh, SV Sunil, Kothajit Singh, Chinglensana Singh, SK Uthappa, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh among others will add to the fervor at the camp.