Skipper Manpreet Singh has stated that the Indian hockey team would want to capitalise on the goal-scoring chances during the FIH Series Finals. Vice-captain Birendra Lakra also echoed the captain’s comments and said that the coach is helping the team rectify the mistakes through video analysis.
Hockey India has named the 18-member Indian squad for the upcoming FIH Series Finals which will be held at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar from June 6 to 15. According to the new qualification norms for the Tokyo Olympics, this eight-team event will be the first step for the Indian team to book a berth in the sporting extravaganza which will be held in 2020. The Indian team, under the guidance of Graham Reid, will have the services of striker Ramandeep Singh, who is making a comeback after nine months, along with defenders Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas.
Speaking about the importance of the tournament, skipper Manpreet said that the Indian players would want to convert whatever chances they get during the matches in the upcoming tournament. Converting the scoring opportunities into goals has been a factor where India has struggled in important hockey games of late.
“This tournament is important for us as we can qualify for the Olympics from here only. So we will take one match at a time and go match by match. Our focus is to gain our confidence level, put up a good performance and win by a good score. We want to capitalise on the chances and convert them into goals that we get and strengthen our defence,” Manpreet said during a press conference after the team selection.
Experienced defender Birendra Lakra has been named as the vice-captain of the national team in this game. He will be playing the tournament on his home turf this time and has an expectation of the team doing well against the opponents, all of them are below Indian in the FIH Rankings.
According to Lakra, this team has got a good mixture of youth and experience and the players will practice hard before the start of the tournament to rectify the mistakes committed during the dying moments of the games.
“Team is good as there is a mixture of youth and experience in the squad. We will want to do well in the tournament with the team that has been selected.
“There has been a problem in scoring goals and restricting the opponents from scoring goals in the last few minutes. The new coach is helping us understand the problem through video analysis. Till we end our practice session we are trying to improve on scoring goals ourselves in the last few minutes and restricting the opponents from scoring towards the end as well,” the newly-appointed vice-captain explained.
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