Bengaluru, Oct 29 (SocialNews.XYZ) Indian junior men’s team coach C R Kumar spoke about their preparations for the ongoing Sultan Of Johor Cup as well as the upcoming FIH Men’s Junior World Cup 2023.
The team is currently in Johor Bahru, giving their best at the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup 2023, which started on Oct 27th and ends on 4th Nov 4th.
India have been placed in Pool B along with Malaysia, Pakistan, and New Zealand, while Pool A comprises Germany, Australia, South Africa, and Great Britain.
“These players are very fortunate that we stay with the Senior Men’s Team in SAI Bangalore. We have been getting opportunities to play friendly matches with them and so the boys have firsthand knowledge of the demands required to play at the highest level. The difference between the European teams and the Asian teams is that they employ tactical hockey and physicality, which we often experience with the Senior Men’s Team as well, and that prepares our mindset for the international standards. We know how to deal with that now and the players have fine-tuned their minds,” Kumar shed light on the preparations.
India are in a perfect position to defend their title as they come into the tournament after winning the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023. They also performed admirably in the 4 Nations Tournament U21 Men in Germany recently.
Speaking on the growth of the team, Kumar said: "Developing the junior team is always a long process, the target is the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2023 and the number of competitions worldwide that we can participate in are very few. So, we took it very seriously right from the beginning. We should perform well at the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup 2023 and that will take us towards the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2023 in high spirits. This is our target, and everybody is working with the same intention, and the unwavering focus every single day has made us a formidable side."
The squad that has travelled to Malaysia under the tutelage of Kumar, is led by captain Uttam Singh and vice captain Rajinder Singh. When quizzed about the exclusion of a few players that featured in the last edition, he said: "We have a strong and experienced side that will feature in the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup 2023. The reason why we are leaving some players behind is that the World Cup is just 45 days away from today and peaking twice in a short period is very difficult, so we are leaving some of our experienced players behind. All the other players are in good shape, and we have a formidable squad that will take to the pitch in Malaysia."
India registered a thrilling draw in the opening game against Pakistan and recorded a 3-1 victory against hosts Malaysia on Saturday in the ongoing tournament
"We are definitely working on winning the Gold at the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup 2023 and the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2023 trophy. We will also get to see what the other teams who will challenge us in the upcoming Junior World Cup and without giving too many of our own secrets, we would like to test a few combinations here. Our hearts are set on bringing the trophies back to India," Kumar asserted.