Indian hockey team coach Graham Reid feels that the upcoming FIH Pro League matches against Argentina, in April would be a great opportunity to continue their growth and development ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. India will play six matches in the South American tour that kicks-off on April 6.
India’s recent visit to Europe for a four-match tour has been highly successful, with them remaining unbeaten throughout, having won two, and sharing the honours on as many occasions. The Sreejesh-led side had the better of hosts Germany in the first game of the tour 6-1 while playing out a draw in the same, while they completed the tour with scores of 1-1 and 3-2, against Great Britain.
But now, Graham Reid’s side are all set to board the flight to Argentina, where they are set to resume their FIH Pro League campaign with a couple of matches against the South Americans. The head coach feels that the Argentina tour would be a great opportunity to continue their growth and development of the team ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
“Argentina plays a different style of game to the teams we played in Europe, and we will be using this tour as a great opportunity to continue our growth and development before Tokyo 2020,” said Graham Reid, to Hockey India.
“To play the Olympic champions in their own country is especially challenging. These games will provide opportunities to hone our skills and tactics in a period where all teams have been starved of international competition,” added the head coach.
A 22-member squad has already been announced for the upcoming tour, with Manpreet Singh making a comeback after he skipped the Europe tour owing to personal reasons. While there are two matches scheduled for the FIH Pro League, India is also set to play a couple of practice matches preceding the ties and as many after them.
All the matches would be played at the CeNard Sports Complex, in Buenos Aires, with the team set to leave for Argentina, this Wednesday.
22-member squad for the Argentina tour:
Goalkeepers:PR Sreejesh, Krishan Pathak
Midfielder: Jaskaran Singh, Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh (captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad, Raj Kumar Pal, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Gurjant Singh, Dilpreet Singh
Forwards:Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Shilanand Lakra
Fixtures for the Argentina tour:
6 April (Tuesday): India vs Argentina - practice match - 8:30 PM IST
7 April (Wednesday): India vs Argentina - practice match - 8:30 PM IST
11 April (Saturday): India vs Argentina - FIH Pro League match - 1:30 AM IST
12 April (Sunday): India vs Argentina - FIH Pro League match - 1:30 AM IST
13 April (Tuesday): India vs Argentina - practice match- 7:30 PM IST
14 April (Wednesday): India vs Argentina - practice match- 7:30 PM IST