Panaji, May 13 (SocialNews.XYZ) In a clash between the raw talent from the tribal heartland, Hockey Jharkhand will take on the Hockey Association of Odisha in the semi-finals of the 12th Hockey India Sub-junior Men's National Championship 2022 here on Saturday.
In the second semiFinal, former champions Hockey Haryana will be up against Uttar later on Saturday.
Odisha is the current cradle of hockey in India and many a tribal from the state have become big stars over the years. Jharkhand held the same status in the undivided Bihar producing players like Jaipal Singh Munda and Sylvanus Dung Dung.
The defending champions hockey Jharkhand are coming off a thrilling 4-2 shootout win against Hockey Chandigarh in their quarterfinal match.
Speaking ahead of their semifinal match, Hockey Jharkhand coach Anu Rahul Minj said, "It will be a tough semifinal against Hockey Association of Odisha. No doubt, they are a very strong side, but I believe we will do well and leave no stones unturned to reach the final. The shootout win in the quarterfinal has boosted our confidence, and I think it has prepared us for the kind of challenge we are going to face against Odisha."
On the other hand, the Hockey Association of Odisha had registered a clinical 2-0 win over Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu Hockey and will look to keep the momentum going in the semis.
"I think both teams are equal and the match will be very tight tomorrow. We've performed well so far in the tournament, we will try to keep the momentum going and hopefully win to make it to the Final of the competition," said Hockey Association of Odisha coach Lakshmi Narayana Pitti.
In the second semifinal, Hockey Haryana will be up against Uttar Pradesh Hockey. Both the teams are coming off comfortable wins in their respective quarter-final matches. Hockey Haryana registered a 5-1 win against Hockey Bihar, while Uttar Pradesh Hockey outplayed Hockey Punjab 6-1 in their quarterfinal matches.
Speaking about the semifinal match, Haryana coach Parveen Mor said, "It doesn't matter which team we face in any of the matches, our preparation remains the same. We have to approach each and every game positively and with an intent to win. So, that's how we will be facing Uttar Pradesh Hockey. We are confident of making it to the Final, and hopefully, clinch the title as well."
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Hockey coach Vikas Pal said, "I would say the team has not performed up to its potential so far in the tournament, we did well in the quarter-final, but we will have to give our best against Hockey Haryana. They are a very good opponent to face in a match like this. I believe it will be a good game tomorrow."