BENGALURU: India junior men’s hockey coach Harendra Singh is confident that the team will come up with a good show when the Junior World Cup rolls around in December in Lucknow.
The team is scheduled to play in the Australian Hockey League that will feature Australia’s state teams, along with the New Zealand and Malaysian national teams. After that, they will play in a tournament in Spain. The team departed for Australia on Friday. Senior men’s coach Roelant Oltmans is accompanying the team.
Harendra believes that the upcoming matches will help the team stay on their toes and come up with a good show at the World Cup.
“We have come close to the World Cup. It is good to have high-intensity games. We will know where our boys stand,” he said at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Southern Centre here on Friday. “Everyone knows the quality of the Australian League, and how important it is for them. They will come hard at us. This is a big opportunity.”
Harendra believes that the team is in good shape at the current moment. “The result is not in our hands. But, I can say that this team is capable of beating anyone for standing on the podium.
“We should not be talking about the final, but have to take it one match at a time. Our first target is the quarterfinals. Apart from tactics, techniques and skill, we have worked on the mental aspect as well. This team is mentally strong as compared to others that I have coached,” he explained, while adding that the players will be more effective with their on-field communication.
The team has several talented juniors who are ready to knock on the doors of the senior team. Oltmans was all praise for the squad.
“I’ve seen their training sessions, and they’re a very talented group. Harmanpreet, Harjeet, Mandeep and Vikas Dahiya have played in the senior team. Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Gurjant Singh, and the other Manpreet Singh... There are quite a few good boys in this group.”