Category: Hockey

India are the top contenders to win the Hero Asian Champions Trophy title, says Japan Chief Coach Siegfried Aikman

Muscat, 15 October, 2018: With just three days to go for the start of the much-awaited Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018, the top Asian teams have descended on the beautiful Capital city of Muscat for a battle of supremacy in the continent. Asian Games Gold Medalists Japan, who arrived yesterday along with their nemesis Korea, Malaysia and Pakistan, will be joined by Defending Champions India who arrive today. A free-wheeling conversation with the Japanese Coach Siegfried Aikman, a Dutch national of Indian origin, on Monday revealed his team’s strategical approach to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where they will be gunning for a podium finish.
Aikman, without mincing words said, “We wanted to enter the 2020 Olympic Games not as host nation but as Continental Champions. We had to win big in order to gain that self-confidence that we too can beat big teams and that we are not afraid of teams like Korea, Pakistan, Malaysia or India anymore.”
 
At the forthcoming Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018, Japan will have the platform to reinstate this self-belief and reassert their supremacy in Asia when they take on World No.5 India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Korea, Oman and prove to the world that the Asian Games Gold Medal was not a one-off incident. “Of course we will be playing to win every single match but at the same time we will also be testing quite a few young players who are below the age of 20, in order to select a core group that will give us enough options and also create more competition within the team ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games,” stated Aikman, who is a master at accurately studying the opponents’ weaknesses and successfully using it to Japan’s advantage. It is what they did in the Final of the Asian Games where they were 0-4 at half time against Malaysia but made a sensational comeback to draw 6-6 in regulation time and go into a shootout.
 
“It was in fact against India that we had planned thoroughly to play against in the Final of Asian Games. After we drew in our final Pool match, we knew we wouldn’t face India in the Semi Final but were expecting to meet them in the Final and had strategically prepared for it. We had strategised differently against them in the pool stage and would used a different strategy had we played them in the Final. However, because of their loss against Malaysia, we will never know how we would have done against them in a Final. I think for our team, it was also critical to have won a few matches against Pakistan in the lead up to the Asian Games that helped boost our confidence,” he added.
 
At the tournament in Muscat which begins on 18 October 2018, Japan will begin their campaign against Malaysia on the opening day. According to Aikman, his team will not be looking at results as much as they would like to emphasis on their own game. The Dutchman explained, “For us it is extremely important to focus on our own game and work on certain areas that will put us in good stead and help us build on our game for 2020. While we will play to win, results will not matter as much as playing a disciplined game.”
 
Speaking of who would be the title contenders for this year’s edition, Aikman called out India without skipping a beat. “India are undoubtedly the contenders for winning the tournament. They have the skills, tactical awareness and fitness but they are vulnerable under pressure and that’s the area which we need to capitalize if we want to success against them,” Aikman concluded.        
 
Japan will take on Malaysia in the opening match at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 while India play hosts Oman in the second match of the day. 

Indian U-18 Women’s Hockey Team advance to Final of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Buenos Aires (Argentina), 14 October 2018: A convincing performance from the Indian U-18 Women’s Hockey team saw them secure a place in the Final of the Hockey 5s competition at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games as they defeated China 3-0 in their Semi-Final match held here at the Parque Polideportivo Roca on Saturday. India’s Mumtaz Khan (1′), Reet (5′) and Lalremsiami (13′) were all on target as they secured a Medal by outplaying the Chinese team.

The Semi-Final match saw India dominate right from the start as they put pressure on the Chinese defence by keeping possession. The Indian team were rewarded for their efforts as Mumtaz Khan scored after just 52 seconds to give India a crucial lead. India did not allow their opposition too many chances in the opening period and were happy to keep the possession, creating several chances for themselves from inside and outside the 11-metres area. The 5th minute saw Indian Midfielder Reet attempt a fierce shot from the half-way line, which beat the Chinese Goalkeeper Xinyi Zhu on her right and secured a 2-0 lead for India. China tried to create opportunities in the remaining few minutes but India’s defence made sure that they cleared the danger and took their two-goal advantage into the half-time break.

India dominated the start of the second period as well, finding space in the opposition’s half and creating chances for themselves. In the 13th minute, it was Forward Lalremsiami who was stopped from taking a shot by a Chinese player, which meant that India were awarded a Penalty Challenge. The resulting Challenge was well converted by Lalremsiami as she scored her eighth goal of the competition and gave India a 3-0 lead. India’s Baljeet Kaur and Reet also tested the Chinese defence in the remaining minutes, but could not beat their Goalkeeper as China looked for an opening at the other end of the pitch. Yangyan Gu, Meirong Zou and Anhui Yu all had chances for China but could not keep their shots on target as India secured a convincing Semi-Final win.

The win for the Indian U-18 Women’s team means they will play the Final of the competition on 14th October 2018 at 01.10hrs IST against the winner of the other Semi-Final match between hosts Argentina and South Africa.

Indian U-18 Men’s Hockey Team progress to Final of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Buenos Aires (Argentina), 14 October 2018: The Indian U-18 Men’s Hockey Team produced a fine display to register their place in the Final of the Hockey 5s competition at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games as they defeated hosts Argentina 3-1 in their Semi-Final match held here at the Parque Polideportivo Roca on Saturday. Sudeep Chirmako (12′, 18′) and Rahul Kumar Rajbhar (3′) scored for India as they secured a Medal by defeating hosts Argentina, for whom Captain Facundo Zarate scored in the 4th minute.
A tough encounter for the Indian team saw them score an important first goal in the 3rd minute as Rahul Kumar Rajbhar beat the Argentine Goalkeeper Nehuen Hernando to give his team the lead. However, Argentina were quick to equalize as they scored through Facundo Zarate in the 4th minute to set up an exciting Semi-Final. Both the teams had chances in the remaining six minutes of the first period but both the Goalkeepers made some fine saves to keep the scores locked at 1-1 at half-time.
In the second period, India maintained pressure in the opening couple of minutes and benefited from it as they took the lead in the 12th minute through Sudeep Chirmako who produced a fine finish to swing the match in India’s favour. India’s Goalkeeper Prashant Chauhan kept his team in the lead as he was called into action again in the next few minutes to deny the hosts of an equalizer. Whereas, India’s attackers also created chances and were successful again in the 18th minute as Sudeep Chirmako scored his second goal of the match to secure a two-goal advantage for the Indian team. Argentina tried to make a comeback in the dying minutes but the match was well managed by the Indian team as the defenders denied the hosts of any real chances to see the match out and secure a place in the Final of the competition.
The Indian U-18 Men’s Hockey team will face their Asian counterparts Malaysia in the Final of the Hockey 5s competition on 14th October 2018 at 23.30hrs IST.

Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team lose 2-3 to Great Britain

Johor Bahru (Malaysia), 07 October 2018: The Indian Junior Men’s Hockey team lost a hard-fought encounter 2-3 to Great Britain in the last round robin match here at the 8th Sultan of Johor Cup 2018 on Friday. However, with four wins on the trot earlier in the tournament, the Indian Junior Men’s Team qualified for the Final with 12 points. Great Britain are placed second in the points table with 10 points from five games out of which they won three matches.     
 
On Friday, the Indian Junior Men’s Team led by Mandeep Mor made a strong start making potential forays in the striking circle. The tactic fetched them two back-to-back PCs in the 5th minute and Vishnukant Singh converted the second attempt after a good variation. But the following minute Great Britain, last year’s Runner’s up, scored a brilliant field goal through Cameron Golden to equalise 1-1. 
 
In the second quarter too, India continued to keep up the momentum stretching Great Britain’s defense. While the first PC went amiss, the second PC was well-struck by Shilanand Lakra in the 20th minute which was handy work of good variation and deflection that helped them take a 2-1 lead. The third quarter though belonged to Great Britain, as they tested the Indian defence. Defensive errors in the circle on India’s part saw them give away back to back PCs. Great Britain didn’t miss this opportunity as they scored in the 39th minute through Stuart Rushmere. 
 
The English put Indian defence under pressure in the final quarter as they found ways to create chances in the circle. A PC earned in the 51st minute saw them convert their third goal through Captain Edward Way and eventually defended the score-line to hand Indian Junior Men’s Team their first loss in the tournament. 
 
Indian Junior Men’s Team will next play the Final on 13 October 2018 at 18.05hrs IST.

Indian U-18 Men’s Hockey Team progress to Semi-Finals of Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Buenos Aires (Argentina), 12 October 2018: The Indian U-18 Men’s Hockey Team continued to impress at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games as they defeated Poland 4-2 in their Quarter-Final match held here at the Parque Polideportivo Roca on Friday and progress to the Semi-Finals of the fast-paced Hockey 5s competition. India’s well fought victory saw Shivam Anand (1′, 8′) score twice as Maninder Singh (3′) and Sanjay (17′) also registered their names on the score-sheet. Poland’s goals were scored by Eryk Bembenek (16′) and Michal Nowakowski (18′).

India started the match well and rocketed to a 2-0 lead inside the first three minutes as Forward Shivam Anand scored the first goal within 48 seconds of the beginning while Midfielder Maninder Singh scored the second in the 3rd minute after fellow team-mate Sudeep Chirmako had missed the target in the 2nd minute. Poland, on the other hand, did not back down and forced Indian Goalkeeper Prashant Chauhan to make four brilliant saves in the first period. India’s Shivam Anand made sure that Poland went into the half-time break three goals down as the Indian scored his second of the match in the 7th minute and help his team dominate the encounter.

The second period saw Poland produce some more shots at the Indian goal which helped them in pulling a goal back in the 16th minute through Eryk Bembenek, who scored after several attempts were wasted by his teammates. However, India’s Sanjay helped his team in restoring the three-goal advantage as he scored past Polish Goalkeeper Jakub Gebler to make the scoreline 4-1. The Polish team tried to create more chances to turn the match around and found a second goal in the 18th minute which was scored by Michal Nowakowski, but it turned out to be too little, too late for the Europeans as India secured their passage through to the Semi-Finals of the competition.

The Indian U-18 Men’s Hockey team will face the winner of the Quarter-Final match between hosts Argentina and Bangladesh.

India will be playing their Semi-Final match on 13th October 2018 from 22.30hrs IST onwards.

Indian U-18 Women’s Hockey Team progress to Quarter-Finals of Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Buenos Aires (Argentina), 12 October 2018: The Indian U-18 Women’s Hockey team on Thursday produced a decisive performance to defeat South Africa 5-2 in their fifth and final Pool A match of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games held here at the Parque Polideportivo Roca. The victory saw India secure their spot in the Quarter-Finals of the Hockey 5s competition as they finished in the second spot with a tally of 12 points, behind leaders Argentina.

Mumtaz Khan (2′, 17′), Reet (10′), Lalremsiami (12′) and Ishika Chaudhary (13′) scored in India’s convincing victory over South Africa as the team ended the Pool stages on a positive after Wednesday’s defeat to hosts Argentina.

The match against South Africa saw India score their first goal inside the opening two minutes as Mumtaz Khan scored off her first shot. Both the teams had their chances in the first period, and it was South Africa’s turn to make the most of the opportunity as they scored the equalizer in the 10th minute through Kayla de Waal. However, India’s Reet made sure that her team went into the half-time break with a 2-1 lead as she scored emphatically with just five seconds remaining on the clock.

The start of the second period saw India’s Mumtaz Khan force two saves off the South African Goalkeeper Mishka Ellis, but it was Lalremsiami who benefited from the constant pressure as she scored India’s third goal in the 12th minute. Iskika Chaudhary also registered her name on the score-sheet as she popped up in the 13th minute to extend India’s lead to 4-1, while Mumtaz Khan scored her second of the match in the 17th minute to make the scoreline 5-1 in India’s favour. South Africa tried to make a comeback into the match in the dying stages but could only pull a goal back in the 19th minute through Angela Welham, as India registered their fourth win in five matches to secure the second spot in Pool A.

The Indian U-18 Women’s team will now play in the Quarter-Finals of the competition which will be held on 12th October 2018 from 22.30hrs IST onwards.

Spirited Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team beat Defending Champions Australia 5-4

Johor Bahru (Malaysia), 10 October 2018: The Indian Junior Men’s Hockey team registered their fourth successive victory at the 8th Sultan of Johor Cup 2018 as they beat Defending Champions Australia 5-4. The win has helped the team top the Pool Table and an assured place in Top four stage.   
 
The Indian Team made a dominating start to their match with their best attack in the first quarter. Though their initial chance of scoring from a PC went amiss, Gursahibjit Singh scored a fine field goal to give India 1-0 lead in the 5th minute. The team built on a good start to score three more back-to-back goals in the 11th, 14th and 15th minute through Haspreet Singh, Mandeep Mor and Vishnukant Singh respectively. The 4-0 lead at the end of the first quarter was a major setback for the Defending Champions. 
 
However, India faltered in their defence in the second quarter only to give away an easy goal through a penalty stroke in the 18th minute. Damon Steffens who scored the first goal for Australia ended up scoring the second goal too when an Indian infringement inside the circle saw them concede a PC in the 35th minute, narrowing the goal deficit to 4-2. Though Shilanand Lakra scored in the 43rd minute to take India’s lead to 5-3, Australia put India through some tense moments as they appeared to make a late recovery, by stretching India’s defence. 
 
In the 59th minute, the pressure to defend the scoreline saw India Colts give away another penalty stroke which was easily converted by Steffans taking the goal difference to a narrow 5-4. But India held their nerves to finish the match in their favour.  
 
Indian Junior Men’s Team will next take on Great Britain in their fifth match on 12 October 2018 at 13.35hrs IST.

Need to play cautiously against every team at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018: Manpreet Singh

Muscat, 08 October, 2018: The disappointment of losing to Malaysia in the Semi-Final of the recently held 18th Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang still lingers on at the back of Manpreet Singh’s mind. “It was a tournament we should have won and the disappointment of losing to Malaysia in the Semi-Final still haunts us,” stated the midfielder, who was named the Captain by Hockey India for the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018. 
 
Over the past three weeks, the Indian Men’s Hockey team has been put through the grind at the Kalinga Stadium – the venue for the prestigious quadrennial event Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup, Bhubaneswar 2018. Doing well at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 will be integral in their preparations for the mega event on home soil later this year. Manpreet said, “At the 18th Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang, I think we were slightly overconfident that we are Asia’s No.1 team and this complacency is what we need to avoid during the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 if we want to retain the title. Post the Semi-Final loss, the team had several meetings to understand where we went wrong and watched the videos from that match numerous times. When we regrouped for the National Camp, we told ourselves it’s time to move on and we cannot let the past affect our chances at the upcoming two big tournaments.”
 
The Defending Champions will take on hosts Oman in their opening match on 18 October and play arch-rivals and previous edition’s runners-up Pakistan in their second round robin match on 20 October. The Manpreet Singh-led squad will play 18th Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang Champions Japan on 21 October. The team will take on Malaysia on 23 October followed by the last round robin match on 24 October against Korea. The Semi-Finals will be played on 27 October with the Final to be held on 28 October. 
 
The Captain of the team further stated that the challenging weather conditions in Bhubaneswar will help them acclimatize to the humid playing conditions in Oman. “The playing conditions in Oman will be similar to Bhubaneswar and we are training hard, sometimes train till late in the night as some of our matches start late in the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018. Our aim going into the tournament is simple – We play to our potential against every team without taking anyone including Oman lightly. There won’t be any room for complacency. We have watched videos of how each of these teams play and we are prepared for the challenge,” he said.      
 
Speaking of his own role in the midfield, in the absence of stalwart Sardar Singh who announced his retirement last month, Manpreet said: “I always aim to do my best for the team and what is expected from me by the team. We have youngsters like Nilakanta Sharma who plays beside me and defender Hardik Singh who is making his debut, the seniors constantly talk and communicate on field to help the youngsters and ensure everyone understands each other’s game well. Everyone is putting their best effort in our preparations and we have paid a lot of attention to on-field communication apart from other aspects of the game,” Manpreet concluded. 
 
Indian Men’s Hockey Team list: 
 
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Hardik Singh
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (Captain), Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice Captain)
Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh

Indian U-18 Women’s Hockey Team beat Vanuatu 16-0 in their 3rd match of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Buenos Aires (Argentina), 09 October 2018: The Indian U-18 Women’s Hockey continued their good form at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games as they defeated Vanuatu 16-0 in their third match of the Hockey 5s competition here today at the Parque Polideportivo Roca. Forward Mumtaz Khan (8’, 11′, 12′, 15’) scored four times and Chetna scored thrice (6’, 14’, 17’) to help India achieve this dominating win.

 

The Indian team were in top gear right from the word go. Like last match, in-form striker Lalremsiami opened India’s account scoring in the 2nd minute. Thirty seconds later, Reet scored India’s second and a minute later skipper Salima Tete joined the party to make it 3-0 in just four minutes of first period. Vanuatu had no replies to India’s constant attack as Baljeet Kaur entered score sheets twice within 5th minute making it 5-0. Chetna scored her first of three in the sixth minute as Reet doubled her tally in the same minute to take India to 7-0. Mumtaz (8’) and Lalremsiami (10’) scored apiece before the first period ended at 9-0 in India’s favour.

 

The second period looked no different as India continued to add to Vanuatu’s misery by scoring goals at will. The island nation who already had conceded 32 goals in their last two outings hardly had shots on India’s goal. The Indians took as many as 40 shots in total during the match compared to just five from their opponents. India scored a goal a minute in the first five minutes of the second half through Mumtaz (11′, 12′, 15’), Salima (13’) and Chetna (14’). India’s 15th and Chetna’s third came in the 17th minute. Ishika Chaudhary scored India’s last goal in the last minute ensuring all players except goalkeeper entered the scoresheet.

 

The Indian U-18 Women’s team will now face Argentina in their fourth match of the Hockey 5s competition on Wednesday, 10th October 2018, at 21.00hrs IST.

 

Indian U-18 Men’s Hockey Team beat Kenya 7-1 in third match of Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Buenos Aires (Argentina), 09 October 2018: The Indian U-18 Men’s Hockey Team registered their third consecutive win of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games as they beat Kenya 7-1 in their third Pool B match held here at the Parque Polideportivo Roca on Tuesday. India’s Sudeep Chirmako (5′, 10′), and Rabichandra Moirangthem (5′,11′) were in prime form as they scored a brace each, while skipper Vivek Sagar Prasad (8′), Sanjay (14′) and Rahul Kumar Rajbhar (17′) also scored in the convincing victory. Kenya’s only goal came in the 7th minute through Olanda Ouma.
India started the match well as they took 8 shots at the Kenyan goal inside the first three minutes. It was only in the 5th minute that the Indian team took the lead through Sudeep Chirmako’s goal. The same minute saw Rabichandra Moirangthem also register his name on the score-sheet as he took India’s lead to two goals. However, Kenya also threatened on the counter attack and scored their opening goal in the 7th minute through Olando Ouma as his shot was deflected off Indian Goalkeeper Prashant Chauhan’s left leg and into the back of the net. However, India’s Captain Vivek Sagar Prasad restored his team’s two-goal lead as he scored in the 8th minute to make the scores 3-1. It was Sudeep Chirmako who got onto the score-sheet again as he scored in the dying seconds of the first period to extend India’s lead to 4-1.
The second period also started on a positive note for the Indian team as Rabichandra Moirangthem scored his second goal of the match in the 11th minute. Three minutes later, Sanjay found himself in space inside the Kenyan half and scored with a precise finish to make the scoreline 6-1. India kept putting pressure on the Kenyans and scored their seventh goal in the 17th minute through Rahul Kumar Rajbhar. In the last minute of the match, India were awarded a Penalty Corner but Kenyan Goalkeeper Paul Ongadi made a great save to deny Sanjay.  Both the Kenyan Goalkeepers, Samuel Silong and Paul Ongadi, were busy throughout the match as they made eight and six saves respectively but their efforts could not be enough as India won the match convincingly 7-1.
The Indian team will now face Australia in their fourth match of the Hockey 5s competition on Thursday, 11th October 2018, at 02.15hrs IST.