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Targeting To Retain Top Spot In Asia, Says Hockey Skipper Manpreet Singh

News World India | 0
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| } October 8 , 2017 , 19:04 IST

Gearing up to open a campaign against Japan in Hockey Hero Asia Cup 2017 on October 11, team India will be focused on retaining the first position in the continent said hockey skipper Manpreet Singh on Sunday.

Ahead of the team's departure to Bangladesh's Dhaka, where the tournament will be contested, 25-year-old Manpreet said, "We are aware that we go into this tournament as the highest ranked team and we aim to keep up the No.1 status."

"However, every team will come with the intention to win the title so we can't take any team lightly thinking they are ranked lower than us," he added.

As the tournament approaches, the Indian team is gearing up to face teams like Japan, Bangladesh and Pakistan in the Pool A match in order to qualify for the top four positions in the series.

A news agency reported that the 18-member team is well prepared after 6-week national camp under the guidance of Hockey India's High-Performance Director David John and newly- appointed Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.

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Manpreet said, "We have trained well in the lead up to the tournament. Our new Chief Coach Sjoerd is happy with our structure and style of play, so he has not tried to change too many aspects."

"We believe while we play teams like Japan, Bangladesh or even Pakistan, we just need to stick to our basics and play simple hockey," he added.

With Pakistan in the same pool, Manpreet addressed the anticipation saying, "Yes there will always be anticipation and excitement for the lovers of the sport to watch an India Vs Pakistan match. But for us, the aim is simple to beat every team in our pool and make it to the next stage."

For the most-anticipated match of the tournament, India will face its arch-rival Pakistan in their third Pool A match. The team has been performing well in their earlier matches signalling a decent performance in the tournament.

The team had earlier defeated the rival team twice during the Hero Hockey World League Semi Final in June earlier this year.