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Indian Men’s Hockey Team eyes strong start in Asian Hockey 5s World Cup Qualifier

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Oman: The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will begin their campaign at the Men’s Asian Hockey 5s World Cup Qualifier against Bangladesh in Salalah, here on Tuesday.

The tournament is scheduled to take place from August 29 to September 2. India are placed in the Elite Pool along with Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan, Oman, and Bangladesh, while the Challengers Pool consists of Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Iran.

After their opening contest against Bangladesh, India will compete against Oman and Pakistan on August 30, and then square off against Malaysia and Japan on August 31.

Indian Men’s Hockey Team will enter the Men’s Asian Hockey 5s World Cup Qualifier tournament with the hopes of earning a top-three finish to book a spot in the 2024 FIH Hockey 5s World Cup.

It must be noted that a total of 16 nations will be competing at the 2024 FIH Hockey 5s World Cup. Oman, being the host nation, has already earned a berth for the 2024 FIH Hockey 5s World Cup, the Hockey India sources said.

Apart from the nations that finish in the top three positions in the tournament, the top 3 nations from Continental competitions in Africa, America, Europe and Oceania will form the remaining teams who will compete at the 2024 FIH Hockey 5s World Cup.

The last time, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team played against Bangladesh was during the Asian Champions Trophy Dhaka 2021, where India defeated their opponents 9-0. Meanwhile, India’s last meeting against Oman was at the Men’s Hero Asian Champions Trophy 2018 which India won 11-0.

India’s last meeting with Pakistan took place in the recently concluded Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023. India picked up a solid 4-0 win over their neighbouring rivals. India’s last meeting against Malaysia was in the Final of the same competition where the side led by Harmanpreet Singh had beaten Malaysia 4-3 after a thrilling contest. Lastly, India’s previous meeting against Japan, too, took place at the Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 and ended in India’s favour with a 5-0 win.

Speaking ahead of the competition, India Captain Mandeep Mor stressed on the importance of the competition.

“For every player, the biggest dream is always to represent the nation at the World Cup. This is an important tournament for us and we want to secure a direct qualification for the 2024 FIH Hockey 5s World Cup and have the opportunity to perform on the biggest stage. We have prepared ourselves well for the upcoming competition and we are confident that we will be able to get positive results in the tournament and earn a top-three finish,” he said.

India Vice-Captain Mohammed Raheel Mouseen said, “With the qualification for the 2024 FIH Hockey 5s World Cup on the line, all of us want to put our best foot forward and perform to the best of our abilities in the competition. We are in good shape and we have had some really strong training sessions. All of us are eagerly awaiting the start of the tournament, despite the tough competition in front of us. We will stick to our plans and hope to pick up quick wins in the tournament to achieve our common goal.”

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