New Delhi [India], (ANI): Indian men’s hockey team left for Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday from the Kempegowda International Airport to participate in the season opener of the FIH Pro League.
The Manpreet Singh-led squad will play the upcoming FIH Pro League matches against the home team and France which will be played in Potchefstroom, South Africa from February 8 to February 13.
While the team is upbeat and eager to begin their FIH Pro League campaign on a positive note, the team received a minor set back with two of their players replaced due to illness.
“India forward Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Jaskaran Singh will not be joining the team for South Africa. Standbys Sumit will replace Jaskaran in the midfield and Gursahibjit Singh will replace Lalit. Though it is a minor setback for us, we were always prepared for such a scenario and had the option of having five standbys,” said Chief Coach Graham Reid as per an official Hockey India release.
He further added that the Indian Men’s Core Group has enough depth and options with players who are capable of performing in the International level.
“This is the best part about having a group of 33 players who are all capable of putting up a good show on any given day. They are able to step up and perform for the team. We continue to remain upbeat about our campaign and look forward to some good hockey in Johannesburg,” added Reid.
Expressing team’s preparedness, Skipper Manpreet Singh said, “I think we are all thrilled to be travelling again for some good International hockey. While we will miss Lalit and Jaskaran, the team is well prepared and most importantly we are all hungry for some good matches against South Africa and France.”
“Both South Africa and France are very capable of upsetting any big team of the world and we can’t take them lightly. It will be interesting to see how well we will execute our plans which we have been trying out at the national camp,” he added.
The Indian Team will arrive in Johannesburg via Doha. They will play France in the first match on February 8. Image(instagram)