After a 3-2 win over France in the opening match of the Indian Men Hockey Team in the ongoing FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015, India Men Team is looking to register their second win against Poland, which will be played on 23 June 2015 in Antwerp, Belgium.
In the opening game 23-year-old Devindar Sunil Walmiki made his impressive debut and scored a brilliant goal. On Devindar’s achievement of scoring a goal in his first international match, Hockey India has awarded him a cash prize of Rs. 1 Lakh and wishes him good luck for his new journey in international hockey.
Mumbaikar Devindar is younger brother of Yuvraj Walmiki, who has been a regular player of the India Men Team and has solidified his place in the national team through his consistent performance in international tournaments. While Yuvraj plays in the forward line, Devindar is a promising defending half and has proved his mettle in his first match itself. He is a regular player in the midfield position of Kalinga Lancers in the Hockey India League, whereas his brother Yuvraj represents former champions Delhi Waveriders.
Gaining confidence from the first match, India will not take FIH Rank # 17 Poland lightly as they stunned India on a few occasions in the past and the Polish Team has some key players who have the ability to hold the opponent with a draw score-line. In the last encounter in Sydney Olympics 2000, India was leading the crucial league match by 1-0 and was almost close to seal their place in the Semi-Final, when Poland’s Tomasz Cichy scored an equaliser in the dying moment and restricted India the opportunity to qualify for the Semis. That was a disheartening instance for Indian team and this time, the Sardar Singh-led national team is committed to not to give any chance to the Polish players to repeat the result.
Commenting on the forthcoming match against Poland, India Captain Sardar Singh said, “Poland is a good team and if they are in the Semi-Final round that means they have some quality players in their team. We can’t afford to take them lightly at any moment as they are capable of turning matches in their favour. The defeat in Sydney Olympics is still fresh in many hockey players and we will not repeat the mistakes made in the match. We will continue our strategy of keeping the ball possession on our side and play aggressively till the last minute. The win against France boosted our morale and we have set our feet in Antwerp. We will play for the win only.”
Speaking ahead of the match, India Chief Coach Paul van Ass stated, “The first match was a good one for us and we will continue our form in the next match. We are not considering Poland as minnows because they have some noticeable talents who are a cause for worry for us. We will stick to our strategies of the previous match but will make some changes in the team combinations. We have some good young players and I want to give them more opportunities. Having said that, we will not give any chance to Poland to dominate the match and we are looking for a win against them.”
Congratulating Devindar Sunil Walmiki on the achievement, Hockey India General Secretary Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said, “Hockey India is extremely delighted on Devindar Sunil Walmiki’s dream debut and very happy with his performance in the first match of the FINTRO Hockey World League 2015. Devindar is a disciplined player and has an impressive track record throughout his junior career. He has consistently performed in the Hockey India League, Hockey India National Championships and in training sessions, which helped him to make his place in the National Team for this tournament. Hockey India wishes him good luck and looks forward seeing similar performances in the future.”
India will face Poland in their second match of the Fintro Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 at 19:30 IST on the 23rd June 2015. The matches will be telecasted LIVE on Star Sports.