19 Sep 2013

Indian juniors raring to go


KUALA LUMPUR: The Indian juniors will be powered by four national players for the Sultan of Johor Cup, which begins on Sunday at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.


They are midfielder and skipper Manpreet Singh, midfielder Kothajit Singh, defender and penalty corner specialist Amit Rohidas and striker Mandeep Singh.

India, however, have rested four other national player, who featured in the Asia Cup in Ipoh last month – Malak Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Gurmail Singh and Ramandeep Singh.

The Indian juniors have not played any competitive matches since their playing tour to Europe in early June.

They arrive here Thursday from New Delhi and are raring to go, glad for the chance to play competitive hockey in the Sultan of Johor Cup.

Chief coach Gregg Clark said it would give him an accurate idea of what to expect ahead of the Junior World Cup to be held in New Delhi from Dec 6-15.

Since the playing tour to Europe, the Indian juniors have been training only in camp under the watchful eyes of Clark and his assistant Baljit Singh Saini.

But Clark said the six-nation tournament in Johor Baru, featuring top teams like South Korea, Pakistan, England, Argentina and host Malaysia, will provide an “indication” of the strength of the teams ahead of the all-important Junior World Cup.

“It’s nice to finally go for a tournament. We have been in the training camp for a couple of months now and I’m happy with the way things have gone there,” said the South African.

“But obviously at this point we would like to have more competitive matches as part of our preparations (for Junior World Cup). It will give us an accurate indication of where we are from the performance level.

“We haven’t played since the beginning of June after the tour of Europe. So every match is extremely important for us now because you can play as much as you like on the training ground, but what matters is playing against international oppositions.”

India will play a friendly against Malaysia Friday before opening their campaign against England on Sunday.

The squad

Goalkeepers: Harjot Singh, Sushant Tirkey.

Defenders: Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Sukhmanjit Singh, Pardeep Mor

Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (capt), Prabhdeep Singh, Harjit Singh, Satbir Singh, Imran Khan.

Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Amon Mirash Tirkey, Mohammad Amir Khan, Talwinder Singh, Affan Yousef (vice-capt).

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