Indian Junior Hockey Team captain Uttam Singh on Friday exuded confidence that his team will qualify for the Junior World Cup by giving good performance in the Jr Asia Cup scheduled in Oman from 23 May to 1 June.
India has been grouped Pakistan in Pool A along Japan, Thailand and Chinese Taipei, in the 10-team Junior Asia Cup . Pool B comprises of Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
India will open their campaign in the tournament taking on Chinese Taipei on 24 May. The Men in Blue will face Green shirts on 27 May.
The tournament is crucial for the participants as it will serve as the qualifying event for the Junior World Cup to be played in Malaysia in December this year. While Malaysia will qualify by the virtue of being the hosts, top 3 finishers in this tournament will qualify for the quadrennial event.
The team,led by Uttam Singh and Vice Captained by Boby Singh Dhami, which left for Oman this morning is high on confidence following their outstanding victory at the 10th Sultan of Johor Cup.
Talking about the tournament, Uttam Singh said, “We have been looking forward to this tournament especially after working so hard over the past few months. With the Senior India team also camping in SAI, Bengaluru, we were able to play some high intensity matches against them which has helped us in our preparations.”
“Also, winning the Sultan of Johor Cup last year has certainly boosted our confidence and we are now excited to play against some of the top teams in Asia,” he added.
He further emphasized that the team has a good mix of experienced players which will give them an edge over the other teams. “Quite a few of us in the squad have gained good international exposure over the past three to four years with some of us also making our Senior Team debut. The experiences from these matches will hold us in good stead and also help us guide the new players in the squad in crunch situations,” Uttam said.
“The tournament is of vital importance for us as it will provide us the chance to qualify for the prestigious Junior World Cup which will take place later this year. Backed by good preparations, we are going there with an aim to win the title and qualify,” he added.